It’s very interesting that Marstrom Composite is a spar supplier to Gunboat with a production in South Africa, quite a distance from Sweden… How did this business relation start up?
Peter Johnstone contacted us when he was building his first Gunboat 62 for himself, this is ten years ago now and since then Marstrom has delivered spars for three GB 62s, six GB 48s and four GB 66s.
Torbjörn please tell us a little bit of the Gunboat company, how are they positioned in the market?
Gunboat combines high performance with luxury. The boats themselves are race boat quality and thus light structurally. This gives a margin for payload and equipment in a boat that will approach 30 knots of top speed.
What do you think is the key of the Marstrom business success with Gunboat?
We provide a top product at a good price. I also believe that our direct support to the captains of the boats is important to Gunboat. I have a personal policy of direct response. We also provide significant input into the design of the rigs and in the Case of the coming Gunboat 60 I have had the pleasure of working with Nigel Irens defining the saiplan of the boat which has brought some interesting features to this rig such as a rotating wing and a new beam arrangement permitting tight sheeting angles of an upwind oriented Code 0.
Please tell us about your recent trip and the racing with some Gunboats customer. How is the reaction from the Gunboats customer point of view regarding the spars from Marstrom?
I think that captains who has experienced the early Gunboat 62 rigs are especially happy with the move to stiffer spars and simplified staying arrangements. For me the long relationship has also given me new friends among the crews.
Carbon fibre is a fantastic material but at least as important is the production method. Is this one of the key features of the Marstrom carbon spar success ?
Autoclaved cured masts are lighter than those produced with lesser methods. For most cruisers this is not the main gain however. We build our masts with Pre-preg materials which are factory impregnated with an epoxy resin that cures only when heated to high temperatures. This means a high degree of quality control built into the material itself less prone to mistakes on the shop floor. The Autoclave has a similar function: a good wet laminated laminate under vacuum can be very good but it is also highly dependent on workmanship skills. The process of building with prepregs in an Autoclave results in a consistently high quality.
According to the above, why is it so important to bake the spars in an autoclave with the overpressure in high temperature?
Higher preassure means a reduced percentage of imperfections. It also gives a superior surface meaning less fairing and less faring compound which equates both to cost and weight savings.
Finally, is there any new hot carbon spars project on the table for the moment?
Given my passion for multihulls the new taller rig for the Syz & Co foiling lake racer is exciting. This is a 35’ flying catamaran with one main aim: winning the Bol d’Or which is the pinnacle of Swiss lake racing.
Torbjörn thanks a lot for your time sharing your carbon spar experience.