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Team ABN AMROs second Volvo 70 boat was recently launched with a revised manufacturing process which uses a laminated female carbon fibre mould tool.
The second boat designed and built by TEAM ABN AMRO to take part in the Volvo Ocean Race, with much of the composite technology employed on the boat manufactured by UK’s Advanced Composites.
As with the first, the second boat was built by Killian Bushe and his team; however there was one major difference in the manufacturing route. The second hull was laminated into a female carbon fibre mould tool as opposed to the more ‘traditional’ approach adopted on hull No 1, which was moulded directly off a male tool constructed from ply wood, sheathed in glass.
By using a female tool for the second hull, Bushe was able to realise significant weight savings as a result of the dramatically reduced amount of filling and fairing required on the hull’s outer surface. This weight saving was then put to good use by ABN AMRO’s designer, Juan Kouyoumdjian, who re-distributed some weight to the keel in order to further improve the yacht’s stability and performance. Not only did this approach save weight, but also valuable construction time – an important consideration for an offshore race boat team.
The mould, manufactured out-of-autoclave, was constructed to a lay-up recommended by ACG technical staff employing both ZPREG technology and LTF318 surfacing material. The mould area of the ABN AMRO 2’s hull is around 150m² and Killian Bushe’s team were able to lay up and de bulk the complete hull tool comfortably within 3 days. A similar sized tool manufactured using liquid infusion technology could realistically be expected to take twice as long to build and even then not guaranteed to produce the same consistent level of low void laminate quality, or surface finish, as seen with the ZPREG® and LTF318.
Following a cure at 65°C for 16 hours the tool was stable and ready for de-moulding and post cure. The surface finish of the completed tool was pit free and ready for the lay up of the second Volvo 70, which was built using VTM260 series prepregs as was the first boat.
The boat will race in the Volvo Ocean Race (originally the Whitbread Round the World Race), which starts in Vigo, Spain on Saturday 12 November 2005 and finishes in Gothenburg in July 2006, has taken place every four years since its inception in 1973.
The fleet will cover four continents, stopping in the following ports: Cape Town, Melbourne, Wellington, Rio, Baltimore, New York, Portsmouth, Rotterdam and Gothenburg.
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