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GAME TOWER GAME-CHANGER – 100 percent carbon fibre towers

GAME TOWER GAME-CHANGER – 100 percent carbon fibre towers

A revolution in boat-building spawned by Australian ingenuity has burst onto the scene, unveiled to the strains of AC/DC’s “Back in Black” at decibels loud enough to attract global interest.

The perennial quest of building game boats to be light, fast and efficient has challenged designers for decades. Advances in hull design and props made of titanium reduced weight and drag, but still owners demand faster boats.

Levi Duncan and the team at his new venture, Element Composites have devised a solution: a world-first, 100 percent carbon fibre towers, custom designed for game fishing boats; Not just stronger and lighter than aluminium or stainless steel, but foiled with an elliptical frame for aerodynamic advantage.

Levi Duncan and Josh Duke-Yonge, Directors at Ocean Degree Total Yacht Services, lead a team of 30 design and refit specialists. Managed by their highly experienced Production Manager, Mick Chaplain, they apply their considerable skills to some of the most complex superyacht projects in the country.

A product of two years of R&D in the use of these materials, including rigorous modelling and testing, they have constructed an 8-metre carbon fibre tower for “Back in Black”, the 40-foot Black Watch game boat as part of a full refit project, which also included an impressive sound system for celebrating the catch!

An 8-metre tower, if built from aluminium, could weigh as much as a tonne. Carbon composite fibre is known and used for its combination of strength and lightness. It is five times stronger than steel and one third its weight. A 100 percent Carbon Tower is approximately 70 percent lighter than a tower built from traditional materials. A massive saving, as well as being strong and stable, and it looks sexy as hell!

“Our clients tell us they want their towers to be durable and practical, as well as eye-catching,” says Levi. “The carbon fibre tower is totally unique and a real head-turner.”

Using new generation epoxy resins which won’t corrode, fade or discolour, and a complex vacuum infusion process, the team at Element Composites fabricated all component parts of the tower, including hardtops for console, buggy floor and top are all fabricated from a composite integration carbon fibre.

“Back in Black” returned to the water in October, accompanied by a huge “Back in Black”-themed party at The Boat Works, Garage 25, for the boat’s owners, contractors and media – its theme song blasting from the JL Audio speakers installed in the cockpit and tower.

With her glossy dark metallic grey hull, and boat name and rego mimicking the carbon fibre look, the 19-year-old boat has benefitted from a complete refit which took around five months.

“Back in Black’s” 100 percent carbon fibre tower is the tallest ever for a Black Watch game boat and is destined to be the first of many. The team pitched their Aussie ingenuity to US game boat builders at the 2022 Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show (FLIBS).

“Florida is the epicentre of game boat building,” explains Levi. “We had a lot of interest. Once owners and boat builders see how superior our carbon fibre towers are, and how easily they can be packed and transported to the US, we’ll be shipping a lot of them stateside.”

Published in print January-March 2023