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Ericsson Racing Team’s boat ‘Ericsson 3’, which was unveiled to the yachting press on the 12th February, is the first one-off Volvo Ocean Race (VO70) challenge yacht to come out of the purpose-built Ericsson boatyard in Kista, Sweden.
This is the first of two Ericsson yachts to be made using ACG’s carbon prepreg materials; Ericsson 4 is in the boatyard right now. ACG has its sights firmly set on providing Ericsson Racing Team with customised materials and technical expertise to support them in this formidable venture. With Juan Kouyoumdjian as the exclusive designer for Ericsson Racing Team, and Killian Bushe as construction manager, Ericsson 3 is one of a kind, embracing the strong heritage of the winning yacht ‘ABN AMRO One’, now ‘Ericsson 2’, a veteran of the 2005-2006 Volvo Ocean Race.
One of the final steps in Ericsson 3’s construction process was to provide it with its true identity – adding colour to the sleek black carbon hull, the product of employing VTM264, ACG’s long out life, intermediate viscosity, epoxy resin matrix prepreg and its associated VTA260 film adhesive, which is used to bond the honeycomb and foam core .
The first step in the construction technique adopted by Kouyoumdjian and Bushe was to build a plug, an outline of the hull, from precision-cut frames. Once the plug was made, a carbon fibre mould was built around it. The inside of the finished mould had to reflect the exact dimensions of the boat’s hull, so accuracy was of paramount importance. The hull was then fabricated in two layers, with honeycomb core or foam sandwiched between them to add stiffness to the structure. In areas where extra strength is required, such as around the keel, high density foam or solid carbon fibre was used. Once fully laminated, the hull was slowly cured in an oven.
The Kista yard has two ovens, one at 26 metres long, just big enough to accommodate the entire boat. The second, smaller oven was used to cure the carbon fibre prepreg deck, bulkheads, galley, navigational station, and the toilet.
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