HISTORY OF EDENCRAFT
There is no boat more majestic than a 233 Formula thundering to the fishing grounds. Behind the wall of white water bounds a fibreglass hull honoured by time and respected by seamen. The origins of the 23 foot 3 inch hull lie in American power-boat racing. In the early ‘60s, Don Aronow, a charismatic, 34-year-old property developer, turned his attention to boat building under the name Formula. Power-boat racing was Don’s hobby, and during the 1960s, speed was the order of the day. He engaged a team of gun designers including Jim Wynne, a race boat driver, naval architect and inventor of the stern-drive, and his partner Waltman Walters, among others. The first boat under the Formula name was a 233 – named Cigarette after a famous rum-running boat from New York. The boat (and hull) went on a winning streak, launching many successful boating interests guided by Don. The famous hull shape found it’s way to Australia via John Haines and the Haines Hunter brand name, later reincarnated bigger and better by Edencraft.
The first hulls to wear the Edencraft badge were built in the late 80s. Legend has it that the Haines Hunter factory, now owned by Yaltacraft, was closing down and the moulds were for sale, including classics such as the 445, V17, V19, 565 and 233 Formula. The moulds eventually found their way to Eden on the NSW south coast. Back then the top sellers for Edencraft were the 233 and V17, typically sold to abalone divers who wanted a tough, commercial-grade boat with a dive door. The hulls stood the test of time and it’s not uncommon to see commercial operators still working the coast in early model Edencraft hulls.
The history books suggest the original Haines Hunter 233 mould was never perfect – every boat that came from that mould has a slight warp just below the capping on the starboard side at midships. Subsequent Edencraft moulds ‘bred out’ the imperfection. Many further Edencraft modifications have been developed which is under new management at a purpose built factory in Geelong. The team have been-skilled up to meet the demand for new vessels, including a new contract building survey vessels for the Victorian Police force.
Each hull lay-up features eight individual layers of composite glass, overlaid at the keel and sides. Fibreglass box stringers are fixed into the hull while in the mould using a combination of hand-laid fibreglass, biaxial cloth and woven roving – creating a matrix system. The whole hull uses the best materials that money can buy. Cavities are filled with fire-retardant closed-cell foam, creating strength, and floatation and sound-deadening properties. Moving forward with technology and time our floors are now produced purely out of fibreglass removing the timber from our hull, then glassed onto the matrix system creating a solid, watertight hull structure. Every boat is built to commercial survey standard, supplied with a MSV number, positive flotation, separate fuel and battery lines, shut-off fuel valves and fire-retardant hoses.