Established in 2005, Finish 1st Ltd offers over 25 years' experience in the composite industry
I'm Andy Wickenden and I formed Finish 1st Ltd in 2005 after more than 20 years' experience in the marine industry. Me and my team now operate globally and offer a mobile GRP service to many different industries.
A little about us...
We consult with you on every step of the process in building and GRP repairs, using composites and obtaining a top quality finish. We specialise in repairing any composite surface and are experts in gel-coat colour matching with a proven track record of returning customers, both commercial and domestic. We work closely with insurance companies, surveyors and marinas, completing work within deadlines and to Lloyds standards.
We operate all over the world, having most recently completed 9 months' work in the British Virgin Islands for one of the biggest charter companies in the world, The Moorings. Undertaking serious structural repairs caused by the devastating effects of 2 hurricanes, this is an ongoing process; The Moorings have over 3000 damaged vessels.
We undertake major repairs and get involved in mixing up the correct gel-coat colour match for companies to apply themselves, if required. All our colour matching is finished by eye as we find this the most accurate way to achieve the perfect result - we always strive for an invisible repair. We believe that this skill is the key to a successful repair and, as such, we have many testimonials from satisfied customers.
A little about me...
After leaving school I got an opportunity to attend Suffolk Boat Building college at Oulton broad in Lowestoft, Suffolk. With 2 years' study and 1 year on an apprenticeship, I gained my NVQ level III in wooden boat building and maintenance.
I carried on working for the company that was supporting my apprenticeship, as it was impossible to get a work placement building wooden boats in the UK at that time - it was a small industry then.
I had the opportunity to build fibreglass narrow cruisers, paragliding boats, speedboats and also fitted them out to bespoke plans and it was there that I picked up my finishing skills.
10 years later, after being made redundant from my first employer, I worked in the fibreglass architectural sector making soffits, facias, dormers, porches, imitation slate and tiled roof panels. Following this, I joined White Formula, formally known as Reg Whites and built Olympic class dinghies and Tornado catamarans.
My next chapter introduced me to working outside of the UK, in the Netherlands, which I did for a couple of years before moving back to a company which worked all around the UK applying industrial fibreglass linings: wall and floor lining, tank linings, bund linings and swimming pools.
After several years I joined Oyster yacht building and progressed to leading a team of 5 finishers. I have a real passion for, and great pride in my work which was the catalyst for setting up my company in Ipswich - I've been adding to my skill set ever since.