25 Jul 2012
Future Fibres lands first superyacht mast contracts
Future Fibres, one of the world’s leading carbon and composite spar and rigging firms, has announced an agreement to supply spars and rigging to two 60m superyachts in-build with Italian yacht manufacturer Perini Navi.
It’s a significant step for the Valencia, Spain-based carbon-fibre experts who have suffered setbacks in the last year with the dismasting of both the superyacht Salperton for which they’d provided the rig, and the dismasting on the first day of the Volvo Ocean Race of Abu Dhabi team’s Azzam, for which Future Fibres provided the mast. But they’ve also made inroads into the highest levels of competitive sailing with masts for two Volvo 70s, an Open 60, and a 72' Mini Maxi as well as manufacturing an America's Cup sailwing.
“We signed contracts with Perini Navi in April this year,” Phil Anniss, commercial director at Future Fibres said by phone today exclusively for SuperyachtNews.com. “Since then, we’ve had our hands pretty full with the Volvo Ocean Race. It was actually perhaps the best thing that ever happened to us in the sense that we’ve learned an enormous about amount off the back of it. Our R&D went into overdrive proving the product. That’s what the Volvo Ocean Race is all about.”
With the Perini contract in the balance, and a spectacular and catastrophic failure of the rig on Azzam on their hands, Anniss says they very quickly developed a method of testing the rig that gave them, and ultimately the Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing team the confidence to finish the race with the replacement mast and rig.
“We developed some new techniques for non-destructive testing (NDT) of solid carbon, which I think puts our product in a very strong position as the new, market-leading product for superyachts.”
During a visit to Valencia in January, the Perini Navi team saw the scale of the Future Fibres facilities first hand, including their custom-made aluminium tooling, provided by Persico SPA, and a project team who are fluent in Italian. "We were hugely impressed with the purpose built facility and the amount of investment that has gone into it," says Vittorio Blengini, Sales Executive at Perini Navi. "Plus, their European location means customers no longer have to go to the other side of the world for a rig build."
The two Perini Navi 60m projects are a sloop and a ketch. For the sloop, Future Fibres will be supplying a full mast, furling boom and rigging package that will be completed by 2014. The mast tube will measure a massive 72.2m—too tall to pass under the Bridge of the Americas in Balboa, entrance to the Panama Canal. Race-based features will include locking mechanisms on halyards to reduce mast compression and save weight, a stowable staysail system, high modulus fibre for a lighter stiffer mast and a new batten slide solution to increase sail life. The mast will be finished with a clear coating to showcase the build accuracy of the product.
The sloop will also have a Future Fibres female moulded carbon pre-preg 22.2m boom with electronic furling motors. The furling system will use torque feedback to optimize furling performance. Future Fibres solid carbon rigging will complete the mast and rigging package.
For the ketch, Future Fibres is providing TSC solid carbon rigging. The V1 for the main mast will have an impressive -750 equivalent cable (the 46m sloop Pink Gin has a -540 equivalent V1 span).
The signing of the two 60m projects follows a comprehensive discussion and negotiation process. Tom Hutchinson, founder of Future Fibres: "Perini Navi have built a reputation based on quality and reliability. The depth behind their decision making reflects their incredibly high standards. We are honored that they have chosen to partner with Future Fibres."
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