Future Fibres and RSB Rigging… A Strong History and a Prosperous Future

Future Fibres and RSB Rigging… A Strong History and a Prosperous Future

Published 28 August 2017
Published 28 August 2017

Future Fibres and RSB Rigging Solution have had a close running relationship since the birth of RSB Rigging.

Future Fibres entered the composite rigging market almost two decades ago with an inherently safe and simple cable construction method that revolutionised the rigging industry; allowing composite rigging and cables to be used aboard both racing and cruising boats for numerous applications.

The acquisition of Future Fibres by Southern Spars three years ago meant the company continued to lead the market as the world’s largest composite rigging manufacturer and combined the knowledge of the two companies creating a formidable technical knowledge base. As the Mediterranean representative for Future Fibres/Southern Spars for more than 10 years the relationship between our companies continues to strengthen with every project completed.

Future Fibres produces the world´s best composite cables for standing rigging and torsional furling cables for upwind and downwind sails. Their flagship product, ECsix, is a continuous multi-strand carbon cable, which changed the world of composite rigging with its performance, reliability and durability – areas that were once inherent weaknesses for carbon cables.

Over the years RSB and Future Fibres have turned out a number of exceptional refits, so it is hard to pick the star showcase… recently the two companies worked together on the extensive refit and rigging conversion for ex-Atlantic record holder, Mari Cha III.

James Lotz for Future Fibres commented on this project

‘’Last month, the culmination of nearly 8 months of work came together, where Mari Cha III saw the delivery and sail trials of the modified mast and new composite rigging package from Southern Spars and Future Fibres.

The decision to ‘turbo charge’ this already iconic project was made after many years of campaigning on just how much this upgrade would improve this record breaking boat.

Performance enhancements included an extension to the original Southern Spars Main mast including new locks, Headboard systems and numerous other performance upgrades. In addition a complete set of Future Fibres ECsix was produced to replace the old Nitronic 50 system resulting in a massive weight shaving of 1,000kg from the original, overall mast and rigging package.

Post the decision to make the upgrades RSB/Rig Pro were chosen to work alongside Mari Cha III, Southern Spars and Future Fibres. Upon commencement RSB/Rig Pro undertook a reverse tune to ensure accurate rigging measurements, along with mast removal and strip, ready for modifications to take place. Once delivery RSB/Rig Pro then undertook the full dressing of the impressive main and mizzen masts ready to be reinstalled in the boat. As with most retrofits many hurdles were overcome, and the strength of the relationship between RSB-Rig Pro and the Southern Spars/Future Fibre project teams meant that the reinstallation was successful and lead to the sea trials last week in the beautiful bay of Palma.

With sea trial attendance from team members from RSB/Rig Pro, Southern Spars and Future Fibres sails were seamlessly hoisted and dropped and the rig further tuned to its new numbers.
Conditions were near perfect for the 3rd day of trials and saw this impressive boat ghosting across the bay even with conditions lighter than would have been desired.
Feedback from all 3 (yes 3!!) of either current or ex Mari Cha Captains on board that day was amazing. The feel and reactivity of the boat has been transformed, especially down range where before the boat felt a little sticky. ‘She just feels alive’ was the comment from Jef D’teaveaud-Ex Captain and owners rep. ‘It feels like a different boat, just AMAZING’ was the comment from a grinning helmsman.

Great job all round and looking forward to seeing this iconic project on the water through the summer.‘’

Elaborating on this, the features of the modifications were as follows which resulted in massive weight reductions and performance enhancement:

1) Increase the mainmast height by 3.0m and converted the original rig from masthead to fractional. This enables a considerable area increase for the mainsail and allows the rig to be more controllable from a sail shape point of view. Already there has been a noticeable performance increase in light air conditions.
2) The original rig was cut just above spreader 4 (38.9m above deck) and a completely new topmast section built at SSNZ spliced in on site in Palma.
3) Both main and mizzen rod rigging completely changed over to EC6 and optimised through a rigorous modelling study in RigMan/Membrain.
4) Both main and mizzen rigs are modified to suit square top mainsails.
5) Toplock (self-locking headboard system) on the main mast. Locks at full hoist and 1st reef to reduce compression in the tube when racing.
6) The main rig is now designed with a vastly simplified single topmast and deflector system for racing enabling a reduction in weight and windage of the aft rigging.
7) On the mizzen mast, the original jumper stays have been removed, the headstay moved higher up, and a single topmast with fixed deflector system employed to simplify the rig and reduce weight and windage.
8) When cruising the yacht reverts back to a delivery J3 on a furler, dual fixed topmast backstays on the main rig, pin head main and mizzen with a supporting lower runner. The deflector from the racing mode becomes the adjuster for the cruising runner.

Main 3.300 kg / Mizzen 1.900kg
Main 2.800kg / Mizzen 1.400kg

Another hero project between these two ground breaking companies was for the largest yacht built by Baltic, and the largest carbon composite hull to date: Sailing Yacht Hetairos

The 197ft (66.7m) S.Y. Hetairos has set many new benchmarks in superyacht construction. It is, for example, the largest yacht that has been built from carbon-fibre composite to date.

Refit main goal: The owner´s brief was to build the largest and fastest yacht that would still be capable of crossing the Panama Canal, and still have that classic look. However she is capable of speeds to rival many racing yachts, achieving a top speed of 25.7 knots during an Atlantic crossing.

Advantage provided: She sports a full set of ECsix rigging that saved a massive 70% of the rigging weight compared to the previous rod set.

Over the next few months, we shall be following the progress of yet another large refit to increase performance for a frequent regatta winner, Perini Navi’s P2, in our feature ‘Follow The Mast’.

Currently her brand new cables are in production in Sri Lanka and her mast is on the ground with RSB in STP… stay tuned.

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