Your Marine Hardware Professionals Build Appreciation of the Marvel of Superyachts
Raritan Engineering Company your marine hardware experts would like to share with you these topics we thought would be of interest to you this month regarding how to become a great superyacht sailor.
Your marine hardware specialists know that it’s impossible to appreciate the marvel of a superyacht until you see one up close. It’s breathtaking to watch one charge by under full sails that are spoken of in acres rather than square feet.
Composites, carbon rigs, 70-ton captive winches the size of small automobiles, and hydraulic advances have all contributed to the acceleration of superyacht racing. In lockstep have been the wardrobes, blends of best-available aramids and carbon.
What is the limit? As the guy who has delivered a few of the biggest superyacht sails ever made, Robbie Doyle has been asked this very question many times. “How big a sail can we build? It’s an open question,” he says. Take, for example, the 195-foot Perini Navi Perseus3.
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Unfurled, says Zebny, is the first superyacht its size to use in-boom furling with a square-top mainsail, which itself is new territory. Your marine hardware professionals know the challenge of stowing Unfurled’s massive head panel, with its gaff batten and big bits of hardware, was solved by the sailors. In collaboration with Southern Spars, the team developed a system that requires only two crew members to hook up or stow the headboard car.
By trouble, he means toppling nearly 200 feet of carbon craftsmanship, which is something boat captains don’t appreciate. “One thing to keep in mind with these monsters is keeping efficient sail plans,” says Doyle, who wrestles with owner demands for bigger sails. “So much of the boat becomes inefficient.
It’s also now standard procedure to be involved in a new build from the outset, says Zebny, taking into account how an owner really intends to sail the boat, what kind of inventory the full-time crew can manage, and making sure the deck layout fits the sails.
Regatta organizers are getting better at putting like boats together on the racecourse, says Christensen, who works with Hasso Plattner’s 147-footer, Visione. Zebny says progress has been made at the shipyards, too, where hydraulic packages now allow the boats to be sailed more efficiently in stronger winds. “Until the last five years, you couldn’t sail a new boat in 20 knots because the gearing wasn’t up to it,” he says. “Unfurled is huge and we often sail it around the course like a 40-footer — well, almost.”
North Sails’ more durable 3Di cloth allows programs like Unfurled to have a single mainsail and only two jibs (“A big one and a little one,” says Zebny.). Doyle Sailmakers’ Stratis and ICE offerings were developed to address durability but also weight and practicality.
“In the old days, you’d have to have a ton of leech hollow on a 100 percent jib to support itself,” says Zebny. “Now we just build it with a straight leech, stick these battens on there, and it makes a better-performing sail.”
One obstacle come race day, however, is deciding which jib to have on deck. Moving a half-ton brick of sail from below requires more than a bunch of big, strong men. On Unfurled, they use a halyard to extract what they need from the tender locker underneath the teak foredeck.
“Big furling sails are now easily handled by two people instead of having a big bag on the deck that weighs 500 kilos and requires six people to deal with it,” says Zebny. Cable manufacturers also like the spool system, says Christensen, because the cables aren’t forced into tight-radius bends that result when furled sails are snaked into deck bags.
Spinnaker snuffers are therefore the most reliable option, and C-Tech makes the most widely used inflatable units. “Typically, we start the day with the snuffer at the head of the sail and use the new zipper systems,” says Zebny. “[On Unfurled] we hoist the sail zipped, so the first set is a normal set.
That’s what gets the owner more value out of his boat, he adds, and keeps him coming back for more and possibly even going bigger and faster. Good or bad, says Doyle, the racing is more pro-driven than ever before, as is the sail-handling.
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