Is this story as good as it sounds? Here’s a press release we received this week:
Wednesday 26th March 2008
The Equatoria Teak Company and C Leary & Co Ltd have today launched Equatoria teak, the first genuine alternative to Burma teak for use in marine decking.
C Leary & Co managing director Simon Kloos said, ‘The marine industry is experiencing an unprecedented level of uncertainty caused by EU sanctions banning the direct import of Burma teak, with boat builders increasingly concerned about the security of supply and the public acceptability of Burma teak.’
Equatoria teak’s slow growth rate and growing conditions are unique. The timber is dense, tight and close grained, straight and oily – all characteristics found in Burma teak, but lacking in virtually all plantation teaks. Mr Kloos added, ‘The superior quality of Equatoria teak guarantees it can meet the exacting technical and performance demands of yacht decking, giving boat builders confidence in maintaining teak as the deck of first choice. The fact that it will be certified, with Verified Progress (VP) certification leading quickly to Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification, will also answer any environmental concerns.’
Wattsons Decking, the UK’s largest marine decking producers, have sampled and run some test decking using Equatoria teak. Co-founder Alan Watts said, ‘We have tried many alternatives to Burma teak and have found them wanting. Equatoria teak has surprised us, easily matching, if not surpassing, Burma teak. With the present pressures on Burma teak, we and our clients have been searching for a viable alternative of at least the same quality and with an acceptable environmental provenance. In these respects, Equatoria teak exceeded our expectations and promises to be the solution the marine industry has been looking for.’
With the UK and Finnish Government development funds as the major investors in the sourcing and production of Equatoria Teak, economic stability and continuity of supply are guaranteed both to the venture and to the source.
Under production from May-June 2008, Equatoria teak will be marketed exclusively by C Leary & Co, a company with more than 130 years’ experience in supplying teak to the marine industry worldwide. Simon Kloos, who has 30 years’ experience in teak said, ‘We can now provide a solution to the problem yacht manufacturers in Europe are facing. Equatoria teak offers continuity, stability and world-leading environmental credentials without compromising on the quality, suitability and sustainability of the teak for marine decking.’
Answers on a postcard please – though don’t bother to mention the un-needed hyperbole, as I can see that already!
I suppose the best clue is the pending FSC certificate. If these trees grow so slowly, this must be a long-standing project indeed, and the plantations involved must be many decades old.
In the meantime, what do you think of this – one of Francois Vivier’s lovely small boats – but built entirely in teak. That’s showing off a bit, isn’t it, unless you happen to find a big pile at the back of your garage? It makes a very handsome little boat though…