Future Fibres manufactures masts at its facility in Valencia, which is equipped with a 50 m long autoclave and 60 m climate-controlled laminate rooms. (Picture courtesy of Future Fibres.)
Future Fibres manufactures masts at its facility in Valencia, which is equipped with a 50 m long autoclave and 60 m climate-controlled laminate rooms. (Picture courtesy of Future Fibres.)

In preparation for the race, Gamesa underwent a full refit in November 2011, at which time Golding chose a mast and boom from Future Fibres, a specialist in composite rigging and spars headquartered in Valencia, Spain.

Picture of Gamesa at sea.
Mike Golding onboard Gamesa, equipped with
Future Fibres’ mast, at the start of the Vendée Globe 2012/2013. Golding is the first person to have finished the Vendee Globe three times. In this latest race, he finished in sixth place. (Picture courtesy of Lloyd Images/Curutchet Vincent /DPPI.)

There is no minimum weight restriction on masts for the race and so Future Fibres’ design focused on weight reduction without compromising tube stiffness or reliability.

The previous mast on the boat had an all up weight of 450 kg and through a process of both laminate and fitting optimisation Future Fibres achieved a 50 kg (11%) weight saving, meaning 200 kg could be removed from the bulb.

A true challenge

The Vendée Globe – which has been described as “the Everest of yacht racing” – is the only single-handed non-stop around-the-world yacht race.

The competition is designed to push the sailor and the boat to the limit, and is a showcase for the latest performance-enhancing technology. The mast and systems have to be self-sufficient for almost 100 days of sailing without failure or intervention.

At the race finish, the Gamesa Sailing Team reported that both mast and boom were in great condition.

Golding was equally impressed: “It is the first Vendée Globe, in fact the first round the world race, that I haven’t had to go up the mast and that is the acid test.”

Future Fibres has been supplying bespoke composite systems to Vendée Globe competitors for 15 years. Every season the company looks to utilise its design and manufacturing capabilities to achieve performance gains of 3-4% for its clients.


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A feature about Future Fibres will be published in the November/December 2013 issue of Reinforced Plastics magazine and on ReinforcedPlastics.com in the coming weeks.

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