Thursday, 8 April 2010

Design Philosophy Part 1 Materials

When we decided to build a new A-class the choice for prepreg carbon-nomex (honeycomb) was an obvious one for us.
A carbon-nomex boat is stiff, strong & durable. Instead of building a boat a few kilos under minium weight we choose to add extra carbonfibers to make the boat even stronger and stifffer.
The surface is spraypainted in awlgrip yachtpaint. The result is a high gloss finish, which is more UV resistant and harder than the traditional gelccoat surface.
Choosing he materials is only one part of the equation. Once one decide to use such high class materials one needs high quality tooling as well. All moulds are build in carbon and all parts are oven cured ('baked') in specially for ARC designed ovens.
The low tempreture epoxy prepreg (preimpregnated fibers which are stored in a fridge) system leads to a significantly higher investment in tooling and production setup but the system is beneficial in the operating costs, because less man hours are necessary to produce a complete boat.
For the sailors this means that boat is only slightly more expensive than handlaminated boats, while at the same time they get a stronger, stiffer and more durable boat (lower sailing costs). Increased stifness also leads to a higher performace in almost any condition.

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