He has been involved in seven America’s Cup campaigns and also has a wealth of offshore racing experience. Yachtsman Steve Wilson from New Zealand has not only been active in the international Grand Prix and Super yacht racing scene, but also in the global yachting industry. As one of the founders, in 1987, of “Southern Spars” who were among the first to professionally make carbon-fiber masts, spars and other parts, he and his fellow-founders sold the company in 2000 but he stayed on in a senior roles until 2005. Since then, Steve has been active as an independent consultant mainly inAmerica’s Cup projects and more recently in the independent design and project management of various yacht riggingprojects.

During a complete refit of his own 55-foot, Greg Elliott-designed performance cruising sailing yacht in 2021/22, he also had a very close look at the question of how best to protect his yacht’s underwater hull from unwanted marine growth attaching itself to it. “In this part of New Zealand”, he explains, “we have a very serious problem with very aggressive barnacle growth on boats and all other underwater structures. Up to the point where the usual antifouling paints are not very effective anymore.” With to the growing awareness for marine conservation, highly toxic paints are being phased out and other paint solutions are not as effective.

Being the marine professional that he is, he conducted a thorough research and soon came across the Fouling Release Foil by HATAG maritime. He eventually had his own boat, plus the 55-foot catamaran of a friend, wrapped in the Fouling Release Foil below the waterline. “The boats have now been protected by the FRF Foil for about nine months on average, and all I can say is that it works remarkably well!”

When Steve later visited Europe, he took the opportunity to visit HATAG maritime in Hamburg, Germany, as well as GTF Freese in Bremen, specializing in corrosion protection, to get to know the FRS Fouling Release System that is the result of a cooperation between the two companies. What he saw there impressed him and when Harald Tagsold of HATAG maritime asked Steve if he did not want would like to represent the company in his part of the world, he accepted: “Although I am quite busy with my other commitments this was a good opportunity. The foil and especially the FRS system, where the foil is applied on a specially formulated, epoxy-based primer, are the answer to all current demands for a non-toxic but efficient antifouling solution. It is a good thing to do, also for the world.”

At the time of writing, the next projects in New Zealand were already coming up: A 15-metre power launch was wrapped in FRF foil in early February, another large catamaran will probably follow soon. “We have a lot of interest in the Fouling Release foil and system here”, Steve says.

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