NauticExpo e-Magazine - #14 - Rigging Innovations - NauticExpo e-Magazine
September 28, 2017

Your Monthly Dose of Nautical and Maritime Innovation


Fittings: Moving From Steel to Textile

Toward Fast, Easy-to-Use Rigging

VIDEO. Cannes Yachting Festival

The Online Boating and Maritime Exhibition

Rigging Innovations

New Rigging Features

Fittings are moving from steel to textile. You’ve probably seen loops of Dyneema rope, so called “soft shackles.”  Why would sailors opt for textile fittings? We asked the experts. We also spoke with Sweden’s Seldén, a big player in rigging, about their new features.




We went to the Cannes Yachting Festival, Europe’s leading in-water boat show. On the menu for this year’s edition, the connected boat and foils. We boarded Beneteau’s Gran Turismo 50, the first yacht to resemble a smart home and met with SEAir, maker of the world’s first rigid inflatable with foils. Watch our video reports.




We spoke with the British firm Recycling Technologies about their system that turns a mix of plastics into marine fuel oil.


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Dyneema, Kevlar and PBO are stronger than stainless steel and about ten times lighter.
Courtesy of Upffront

This article was published in January 2017 in NautixExpo e-magazine #6. You’ve probably seen them: loops of Dyneema rope, so called “soft shackles,” or blocks in which certain elements are textile rather than metal. Even textile deck fittings are entering the market and becoming increasingly popular.   This quiet...

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For a serious racing sailor, carbon is the way to go.
Seldén is a big player in rigging (Courtesy of Seldén)


Sweden’s Seldén is a big player in rigging. NauticExpo e-magazine discussed current trends and likely future developments with director of marketing Mats-Uno Fredriksson.


Since sailing is a very gear-intensive activity, continual development is crucial. This includes boat design, deck hardware, electronics and clothing. Ongoing changes cover every aspect of boating. The rigging is one of the most important and expensive elements of a sailboat. Since sailors spend a lot of time and energy handling sails, we wondered how new rigging features meet their needs.

NauticExpo e-magazine: What were the most fundamental changes in rigging over the last ten years?

Mats-Uno Fredriksson: The use of downwind sails with furling systems is booming. Top-down furling for gennakers and Code 0 sails with furlers have reached the market. The Code 0 is an ideal addition to modern boats with jibs and no genoa.

NE e-magazine: How do these changes affect the way we race and cruise, and the sailing experience in general?


2-speed self tailing winches (Courtesy of Seldén)

Fredriksson: I would say it’s mostly about more speed and happier crews. The top-down gennaker furler is mainly a cruising product, but the furlable Code 0 is used both by cruisers and racers. Both make for fast, easy sailing.

NE e-magazine: How important are non-metal materials like Dyneema, Spectra and carbon in the development of new products?

Fredriksson: Carbon products have been around for 20 years, and we are one of many manufacturers. It’s a niche product. It’s very expensive compared to aluminum, but unrivalled for stiffness and low weight. For a serious racing sailor, carbon is the way to go. But for the major part of the market—the cruisers—carbon can’t compete with aluminum. Dyneema and similar materials are really taking over from polyester line in running rigging. Dyneema core is also very common for runners and backstays nowadays.

NE e-magazine: What do you think the next decade will bring?

Fredriksson: We will see an increasing focus on convenient sail handling solutions. For example, electric headsail furlers, furling masts and winches.

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  • Yacht builders are responding to the demand for yacht support vessels. Dutch shipbuilder DAMEN released its first yacht support vessel in 2010. Until then, the market featured a few conversions of old offshore vessels. Today, the trend is toward advanced technologies and a variety of vessel sizes.


    Advanced solutions


    DAMEN is an established leader in large yacht support vessels—from 43 to 90 meters. Designs are based on a their proven Sea Axe bow which lowers drag through the water and delivers faster offshore operation. John Gauldie, communications manager at AMELS, a DAMEN group company, told NauticExpo e-magazine that:

    The company focus is on larger vessels that can carry tenders and toys that superyachts can’t.

    DAMEN yacht 6911 in bay

    The SEA AXE 6911 is the first in the Yacht Support range to feature the ultimate technical area for serious superyacht helicopter operations … (2015)

    A support vessel should be faster than the yacht, and must have a range of at least 5000 nautical miles. It usually offers abundant deck space, extensive below- deck stowage, and space for additional guests. It might even include a hospital. A recent innovation is a fully-certified helideck and hangar with a high-tech lift system, compared to the touch-and-go helipads which are not certified for commercial/charter use. And for safe helicopter operations, Gauldie explained:

    Our yacht support vessels have zero-speed stabilizers.

    Although DAMEN is an established leader, the company recognizes the importance of its competitors:

    “There are certainly many more players entering the market as it continues to grow.”


    Transatlantic versatility


    French yacht builder PIRIOU also endorses the benefits of larger vessels. Last year they announced a complete range of support vessels ranging from 40 to 63 meters. Their YSV support vessels are based on proven hull design used in the offshore oil industry. Their fast, versatile transatlantic yacht support vessels take over logistics tasks and relieve stowage constraints previously limiting yacht use.


    Entry level version


    Dutch yacht builder Lynx Yachts prefers to concentrate on smaller craft— from 20 to 36 meters. The Yacht X Tender (YXT) offers huge storage capacity on a low aft deck, a car garage and additional accommodations for crew and guests. The YXT is designed to support super-yachts between 30 and 70 meters. First launched in 2014, the smallest version costs 1.95 million euros.




    Various sizes fit the different needs of yachts from 30 to over 100 meters. Both DAMEN and PIRIOU build very seaworthy, long-range vessels, while Lynx Yachts offers an entry level version. A fantastic example of a larger yacht support vessel is the GAME CHANGER YS 6911 from DAMEN. It will be berthed at the Monaco Yacht Show 2017. See featured image.

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    The TIWAL 3.2, U.S. Boat of the Year in 2014 and winner of a Red Dot design award, is the first performance inflatable dinghy on the market. The compact kit fits in two bags which are easily stowed in a car trunk.

    Inflation and assembly take just 20 minutes, all without tools. Disassembly is equally rapid and simple. Total ready-to-go weight is about 50 kg. Measuring 3.2 meters long, the craft is suited to single handing, pairs sailing or outings with the kids. The boomless sails come in two versions—5.2 and seven square meters.

    The TIWAL can be launched from the beach or the deck of a larger vessel. The wide V-shaped PVC hull offers both stability and rapid acceleration. The boat is also easy to right after a capsize. The builder, based in France’s Brittany region, launched a U.S. crowd funding campaign earlier this year.

    Read more about sailing dinghies on NauticExpo website.


    Michael Halpern

    Michael Halpern is a US-born and bred writer with experience in radio. He has lived in southern France for 15 years. Michael is the copy editor of NauticExpo e-magazine.

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    Øyvind Bordal

    Øyvind Bordal is a norwegian writer and sailor, based in Denmark and Caribbean.


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    Wim Vercauter

    Wim Vercauter is a freelance boating editor and a fire safety expert.

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    Erin Tallman

    Erin Tallman, writer for NauticExpo e-magazine and Online Managing Editor of ArchiExpo e-magazine.

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    Celia Sampol

    Celia Sampol has been a journalist for more than 15 years. She worked in Brussels and Washington for national medias (Agence France Presse, Liberation, Europolitics). She’s the editor-in-chief of NauticExpo e-magazine and MedicalExpo e-magazine.

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    Tony Slinn

    Formerly editor-in-chief of IHS Maritime, Tony Slinn is an independent maritime journalist.

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    Camille Rustici

    Camille Rustici is a Journalist with years of experience in business issues.

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