Barracuda Technologies Builds a Catamaran to Antarctica Expedition

13 October 2002

During next week Barracuda Technologies, will make a live infusion demo at the Sao Paulo Boat Show, building a composite boat in which two sailors will cross the Drake Passage.

As a brief history, in 1578, Sir Francis Drake faced a terrible storm after 16 days cross of the Strait of Magalianes to the Pacific Ocean, and his boat was pushed SW to hit by lucky the Cape Horn. Several years later the division between both Atlantic and Pacific Oceans through the Antarctic Peninsula is known as the “Drake Passage”.

During next January, a sailing expedition will leave the end of South America to Port Williams, crossing the Beagle Canal to the Herschel Island and then 500 miles across the “Drake Passage”. On board, the Brazilian Robert Pandiani and the South African Ross Duncan will crew a small 20 ft catamaran without any shelter. Then they will sail extra 800 miles through the peninsula, and other 45 days to reach the Antarctic Circle.

Both sailors have long experience on small boat crossing including the “Tropic Expedition” where they sailed from Fort Lauderdale, USA to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil through the Caribbean and Amazonia on total of 7,500 miles, and four years later the “Austral Route Expedition”, a 4,500 miles sailing between North of Chile to Rio de Janeiro through Cape Horn and Patagonia in Argentina.

The boat will be a 20 ft catamaran built in kevlar fibers and Divinycell PVC foam core using infusion process with epoxy resin. The boat will be rigged by carbon cross beams and a carbon wing mast. The new boat will weight half of the boat used in “Rota Austral” expedition. To allow the sailor some rest during the cross, it was designed an ultra light carbon fiber support to hold one of the sailors for few hours.

According Eng. Jorge Nasseh, president of Barracuda Technologies: “We all know this will be an extraordinary challenge for both sailors. When they brought me the expedition idea, I offered our engineering crew to design the structural laminate. We were so excited with the support of several other companies, including the main sponsor Toshiba that I thought to be a good idea to build the boat alive at the Sao Paulo Boat Show. It will be a great opportunity to the attendees as well the boat community understand the composite construction and infusion techniques”

During the last year Barracuda Technologies has offered several seminars to teach the infusion technique, including full understanding of materials and processes. “Our goal is to make available the technology for the Brazilian builders in order to compete in the international market and offer better composite products” says Jorge Nasseh.

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