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Carbon in the spotlight for the America's Cup

06 November 2003

Just as Marseilles is short-listed among the possible hosting venues for the Americas Cup, four young local engineers are actively setting up a workshop-exhibit dubbed "The Magic Black Yarn: from carbon to the Americas Cup".

Its goal is to highlight the vital role of carbon in the world of sailing in the eyes of the general public. This original initiative, through an educational and interactive workshop will stage the different phases in the building of racing yachts, and will trigger vocations among the young.

Carbon is to be given pride of place in a 250 sqm showroom, right at the heart of Marseilles, for several months in 2006: a most timely opportunity - as this will be the year of both the Vendée Globe Challenge and the America's Cup qualifying series - to promote this outstanding material, an absolute must today in the world of construction (for sailboats, helicopters, wind turbines, etc). The workshop-exhibit will also reveal sailboat building technology to the widest possible audience, more particularly to the younger generation, who will then be drawn towards promising careers in this field.

This project witnesses to the rallying of the whole city around an event of such importance as the hosting of the America's Cup - 180.000 people have already signed up to support Marseilles. It also reveals the magic of sailing races which, beyond the sole sporting challenge, mobilizes all the energies, stirs up passionate interest and boosts up technological advances.

Marseilles and its region can boast technological expertise: local manufacturers such as Composite Works – with its large facilities - are already involved in "The magic black yarn" project, also backed up by an entire profession, led by the project’s young organizing team. They (Nassira Boulebbad, Audrey Sery, Guillaume Pagnard, Nicolas Rolland and their professor, Jean Paul Charles) are all sailing enthusiasts, specialists in composites, and members of Think Composites (Palo-Alto, USA), an association whose goal is to transmit knowledge and know-how related to carbon composites.

Prestigious patronage also comes in to support the project, such as that of Steve Tsai (Professor at Stanford University), and Franck Cammas (one of the world’s top skippers), both members of the workshop-exhibit’s technical and scientific committee.