SP Yachts Battle It Out In The Rolex Fastnet

19 September 2003

Neville Crichton’s 90-foot maxi, Alfa Romeo, engineered and constructed with SP’s composite materials, took line honours in the Rolex Fastnet Race.

However, it was a close call as Zephyrus V, owned by Robert McNeil and also made with SP’s help, finished only ten minutes behind, managing to give Crichton a run for his money. The Fastnet is one of the world’s premier yachting races and attracts experienced sailors participating in various classes including IRC, IRM, Open 60, Multihulls and a double-handed division. Competitors start from the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes and make the famous passage towards the Scilly Isles, onto Ireland and around the Fastnet Rock. The race finishes 608 nautical miles later at Plymouth.

Alfa Romeo and Zephyrus V have almost identical composite structures. Both are made with SP’s SE84 prepreg and a combination of Core-Cell foam and Nomex honeycomb cores. SP’s Ampreg 22 laminating resin was used for all secondary laminating and Spabond adhesives were applied in all assembly operations. SP’s structural engineering team also worked with designers Reichel/Pugh on both yachts and a significant weight saving and performance gain was achieved through SP’s use of Finite Element Analysis (FEA).

Alfa Romeo has enjoyed a very successful sailing career to date including a record-breaking win in the Sydney-Hobart Race and the Zegna Trophy in Portofino earlier this year. Zephyrus V has also proved her worth on the international racing scene and achieved line honours in the Isla Navdad Race from California to Mexico and the Pacific Cup in 2002.

Nokia, Charles Dunstone’s 76-foot Maxi, won on handicap and came top of the Super Zero Class, six hours ahead of corrected time. SP also provided all materials and composite engineering.

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