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The ‘Araldite’ boat has crossed the finishing line in the Transat 6.50 Charente-Maritime in 15th place, demonstrating the possibilities of constructing a racing boat reinforced with flax fibres.
According to Huntsman this is the first flax fibre built boat to take part in and finish the legendary race. “The going was relentless and many competitors were forced to abandon because of the extremely harsh weather conditions, but in spite of the many challenges that were thrown our way, including an energy problem that forced us to turn back to Cape Verde for essential repairs, this race has given me one of the greatest challenges of my life,” said Thibault Reinhart, Skipper of the ‘Araldite’.
“We set about designing the ‘Araldite’ with the firm intention of proving the possibilities of building solid and robust racing boats from environmentally friendly natural fibres. The idea was to bring flax fibre over to the other side of the ocean in this legendary race. By finishing in 15th place, flax fibre has just proven its worth in naval construction and thanks to the performance undertaken, many more boats may be built with this natural fibre in years to come. I’m very proud of the achievement and even prouder of this great boat.”
Huntsman explains that having left La Rochelle on 25th September, Thibault Reinhart arrived in Salvador de Bahia on 2nd November after 28 days, 20 hours and 8 seconds at sea on board the ‘Araldite’. Huntsman sponsors the boat that takes its name from the company’s award winning range of Araldite products. Huntsman also provided technical support for the project.
To develop the flax reinforced system, Lineo, a Belgium company specialising in flax reinforcements, provided the fibres, specially treated to ensure perfect compatibility between the flax and an Araldite warm curing system. Huntsman and Lineo issued the necessary laminate mechanical properties used for designing the boat’s diverse parts. In total, flax fibre constitutes 50% of the boat’s structure, with the remaining 50% being reinforced with traditional carbon fibres.
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