(Source: Future Fibres) Future Fibres set out two years ago with a clear mission: to build the fastest and the biggest spars in the world. This time last year we were working on our first four spar contracts – one America’s Cup, two Volvo campaigns and an Open 60. This was a clear signal of our ability and intent to make an impact on the GP race world. In the last edition of The Front Line, we outlined some of the development that was going into preparation for our superyacht spar production. We are now very pleased to be able to announce that Future Fibres has started designing and building three furling booms, each of which is bigger than any previously built in the world.
Furling booms are one of the most critical and complex systems on a modern superyacht. Future Fibres’ Design manager, Tim Meldrum, explains “If designed well, furling booms are outwardly simple in appearance and operation. However, the technology and design behind a successful boom is far from simple. Individually, the five main functions (main drive, mandrel lock, sail feed, outhaul and emergency drive) are relatively straight-forward. The difference between a good and bad product is the ability to roll these systems into a compact package and to effectively integrate of these functions into a good- looking, efficient structure while maintaining performance, reliability and good service access.
“It is fantastic to have the opportunity to start from scratch; to take a fresh look and use innovative new technology. For example, from the outset we were keen to consider electronic drive systems. Electric motors offer more tuning control via live feedback, they are more compact, lighter and cleaner. We have been working with Bamar who have huge experience in precision gearboxes and marine components and their latest electric motors are very impressive. We still plan to have the more traditional hydraulic versions available, but our view is that electric drive systems are the future.”
The sheer size and innovative nature of this latest, unique project requires a truly collaborative design approach between the key partners involved in the sailing systems. Future Fibres, the mast maker, sailmaker, boatyard, yacht designers and a specialist control systems supplier are all required to effectively contribute to an iterative design process to achieve a robust sailing system at sizes and loads far beyond previous experience.
This is a major first step for Future Fibres into the world of superyacht spars, an area arguably in need of some healthy competition. It is the overall strength and quality of the design, engineering and production teams, who have proven their ability in previous GP race projects, which has enabled us to take on this ground – breaking project.