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Zoltek to Supply Carbon Fibre for Around the World Ocean Racing Vessel

  • Friday, 27th April 2012
  • Reading time: about 2 minutes

Zoltek has agreed to sponsor Team Fahajó, a Hungarian race sailing team, as they compete in the IMOCA Ocean Racing World Championship Series beginning in 2013.

Led by sailor and boat builder Nándor Fa, Team Fahajó expect to begin building their full-carbon, 60 foot (18.3 meter) racing boat this month and plans to launch the boat by May 2013. Upon completion, Nándor Fa and Team Fahajó plans to compete in five IMOCA World Champion Series races, the last of which is the Vendée Globe 2016-2017 – a 25,000 mile, single handed, non-stop race around the world.

According to Zoltek, in the 1990’s, the time record for sailing around the world was 110 days – today it’s 84 and they say that this is due in large part to the advancement and adoption of carbon fibre. They explain that the light weight and structural stiffness that can be achieved with carbon fibre gives great advantage to a sailor, especially when sailing downwind. Additionally, the use of carbon fibre allows for a larger sail surface in relation to the size of the boat. By using carbon fibre, Nándor Fa expects his finished boat to weigh 8.8 tons, which is 30% lighter than same sized boats built with traditional materials such as fibre glass.

Zoltek say they will be supplying the carbon fibre needed to construct the racing boat. The entire hull and the mast will be built with Panex 35, Zoltek’s primary carbon fibre product.

Uni-directional fabrics will be used for the lower hull of the deck, the beams, the keels, and the rudders – this will comprise 70% of the carbon fibre used. The remaining 30% will be used in the interior structure and dividing walls, which will be constructed from uni-directional and multi-directional fabrics with vacuum infusion.

Structurally, many racing boats in the IMOCA Series today are built with a honeycomb core, which over time has caused recurring structural problems, according to Nándor Fa. For this reason, Nándor plans to use a closed cell form sandwich structure that he believes will correct this problem and facilitate a safer and more structurally stable vessel.

The assembly for the mast will take place at Pauger Carbon Composites, a premier and innovative maker of carbon masts. Pauger is most known for building the RC44 fleet, which is widely recognized as among the most technologically advanced fleet designs today.

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