Pendennis’ M5, currently the largest single-masted sailing yacht in the world, is undergoing a major refit and remodel, which has just reached a significant milestone. The 78m sloop left Pendennis’ facilities and moved to Queen’s Wharf at the Falmouth Docks ready for the 89m mast to be hoisted back into place. Marine Results took charge of the stepping of the main mast whilst Pendennis provided equipment supply, infrastructure management and hydraulics expertise.

‘The primary crane, provided by Ainscough Cranes with a lifting load of 1,000 tonnes, is one of only two in the UK capable of this operation. As the mast stepping required lifting to 300ft in the air it was crucial that the wind was less than 10 knots. The mast was hoisted at dusk whilst there was still just enough light to ensure the mast was safely vertical. It then took five cranes, supported by a team of over 30 people, five hours to complete the complex procedure,’ Ed Danby, director of Marine Results, explained.

Her sheer size is reflected in the original rigging, which weighed over 45 tonnes. Part of the refit specification was replacing the rigging with a system made of carbon fibre and titanium. The 34 new carbon fibre stays have been constructed with built-in dynamic fibre optics displaying the load through a central computer, a first instalment on a superyacht for the technology that had been designed for use in America’s Cup AC45 wing-sailed catamarans.

The changes mean that the M5 now weighs in at 27 tonnes, an 18 tonne loss from its original 45 tonnes. Further to this, Ron Holland Design – naval architect on the refit - required 60 tonnes be removed from the keel during the refit. The estimated strength gain from this refit is 30 per cent and her sailing performance will be improved by the addition of a new winch for the UPS sail, which will solve the problems encountered when managing such large sails.

The following weeks will see adjustments made to the length and fittings on the stays to find the dock-true settings, with M5 ready for sail trials in early November.

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