Our French agents, Blew Stoub, based in Lorient, have been supplying optimised composite standing and running rigging packages to the Open 60´s and offshore Multi´s for years. As cruising and club racing sailors are starting to look to composite rigging in increasing numbers the establishment of BLEW STOUB Méditerranée was a natural progression to serve this traditional sailing Mecca!
Blew Stoub´s founder, Vincent Le Roux, approached Escale Technique, a Marseille based rigging company, to distribute its racing products throughout the French Mediterranean. The two companies are combining their skills and experience to promote Blew Stoub's technical products together with Future Fibres' composite rigging along the south coast of France.
Vincent comments: "We're really delighted to announce this venture as it's been on the cards for quite some time. Mediterranean clients have been demanding more technical products as well as know- how and whilst we were providing our services from a distance it has become essential to be present on site. Meeting Escale Technique, with whom we have now carried out several projects, including a Future Fibres composite retrofit on a Grand Soleil 50, provided the opportunity to create BLEW STOUB Méditerranée".
For existing Future Fibres clients, BLEW STOUB Méditerranée adds another key location where they can access trained Future Fibres technicians for general rigging advice, support or carry out scheduled services.
Contact : Philippe Escalle
t : + 33 (0) 4 91 51 46 69
The recent launch of the JV60 'Jethou' and the 39 metre superyacht 'Cinderella IV' represents two significant new projects for Future Fibres, with both pioneering the use of the company's revolutionary Under Deck Turnbuckle (UDT) system.
Plans for the UDT were announced in late 2007 and yacht designers immediately showed strong interest in the system, which removes cumbersome hardware and places it out-of-sight underneath the deck. Jethou and Cinderella IV are the first to capitalise on this technology, which not only streamlines the deck but also has a positive effect on both weight and windage.
Future Fibres' R&D director Humphrey Bunyan commented: "Composite rigging is being accepted very quickly and we are seeing a bunch of new players enter the market. Naturally we want to maintain our technical advantage and intend to keep driving our development forward at pace. The next twelve months will see us release several major developments; the UDT is just one of them.
"These projects are also great examples of a rigging company working with designers, yards, PMs and other suppliers, to produce the very best yacht possible. From conception to delivery, Future Fibres managed the relationship with all those involved and ensured that everything worked perfectly from day one. This is the direction we see Future Fibres moving in the future – taking a leading role in the whole rig package and working collectively to achieve the very best results for the customer."
Launched in May, Cinderella IV was constructed at Vitters Shipyard and features a full set of Future Fibres' rigging. With an owner's brief which focused heavily on great aesthetics, speed and long range comfort, it was felt that composite rigging was a must. Future Fibres' experience in the superyacht market, combined with the company's GL approval and weight advantage over other systems meant it was quickly chosen as the preferred supplier.
Cinderella's skipper Andy Wilson commented: "We went out with the sails on for the first time yesterday and everything went according to plan. The rigging and the UDTs look great; it makes a real difference to the line of the deck and is a very clean system. We are very happy with what we have seen so far and look forward to seeing the difference the composite rigging makes".
Cinderella's UDT design, which is the first of its type, was developed by Future Fibres' in-house engineering department, who, after presenting the idea early on in the design process, worked closely with the Tripp design office and Vitters yard to ensure a seamless installation. The result is a stainless tube, bonded directly to the chainplate, into which sits an inner adjustable tube housing the V1 end fitting.
Running in parallel, Jethou is the first in the race market to feature the UDT system. Built by Green Marine, the Judel Vrolijk designed 60 footer, launched in April, features a fully optimised race rigging package. This includes internal tangs, bullet threaders and a set of bespoke spreader ends – designed to minimise the profile of the spreader tip.
Future Fibres' Miles Amin remarked: "There has only been a handful of custom race boat launches this year, so it's great that we were able to see the UDT in action on a boat of her calibre so quickly. We worked very closely with Green Marine's engineering department to produce an ultra light version of the UDT. Constructed mainly out of composite materials, it offers a considerable weight reduction compared to a normal turnbuckle, as well as having a significant impact on windage."
These days superyacht owners expect high performance to go hand in hand with great aesthetics. It's not always easy marrying up these two objectives, but composite rigging specialists Future Fibres has shown that their new 'Under Deck Turnbuckle' (UDT) system offers one of those rare 'win-win' situations.
Future Fibres has patents pending on new technology that will enable boat builders to incorporate turnbuckles for standing rigging below decks. Tom Hutchinson, CEO of Future Fibres, explains the advantages of the technology: "The UDT system enables us to reduce the overall weight, in comparison to a normal turnbuckle system, and to lower its centre of gravity by recessing it into the hull structure. But more importantly, certainly for the superyacht market, is that unsightly turnbuckles are no longer visible above deck. Composite rigging disappears 'through the floor', leaving a smooth and uncluttered deck for the owner and guests to enjoy."
Turnbuckles for standing rigging below decks
Hutchinson believes the ideal, and most weight-effective, solution will be to create a composite tube laminated directly into the hull. But he accepts that persuading designers and boatyards to incorporate such far-reaching ideas won't initially be easy. "We're working on a project for Sunshine, a Tripp 38m currently building at Vitters, although this version is in stainless steel tube," says Hutchinson. "People are sometimes more comfortable using steel, although I'm sure it won't be long before we're working with someone on a UDT project in composite."
Peter Lassche of Vitters Shipyard comments: "The benefit of this technology is to have the turnbuckles buried underneath the deck, making for a clean and aesthetically beautiful deck. The challenge is to keep it as light and clean as possible, while still being practical for every day use." And Jens Cornelsen, project manager for Sunshine adds: "Whilst I think incorporating a UDT system is going to be technically challenging, it makes that area of the boat look very elegant. It's a nice feature."
Hutchinson points out that although the UDT system going into Sunshine is a first, it is still the result of many months' intensive research and development into the technology. "Our plan is to enter into a full design programme for the next three to four months, to produce UDT systems that will cater for every size of yacht from 12 to 60 metres.
"At the moment, as with many innovations, this is being driven by demand in the superyacht market and the UDT is very much a custom project application. However, given time, there's no reason why it couldn't penetrate the broader market. The yard has to design a UDT system into the chain plate of the boat, so it will take time for the technology to filter through to the production boat market. But there's no reason why a Dehler 44, for example, couldn't have an Under Deck Turnbuckle system. It will be lighter, offer less windage and will make for a much cleaner look. Who wouldn't want that?"
At the May 2010 meeting of the IRC Technical committee it was noted that “the technology of composite standing rigging has matured significantly in recent years to the extent that it is now becoming close to mainstream...There is now evidence that composite standing rigging has a life expectancy at least that of steel rod rigging.”