• NauticExpo e-Magazine - #3 - A Mini Revolution - NauticExpo e-Magazine

    Mini Is Big

    A Mini Class hot topic ? That was a no-brainer for a magazine dedicated to innovations. In this third issue of NauticExpo e-Magazine, you’ll learn how Mini scow bows are spreading through boat design. You’ll also discover the first fully recyclable Mini vessel.

    The Vendee Globe 2016 solo skippers will cross the start line on November 6. We chose to interview the people at Oceanvolt, who will power Conrad Colman’s boat for a spectacular, sustainable first: racing around the world without using any fossil fuel.

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    Hot Topic
    They are also really good upwind because the water plane moves out and the bow doesn’t bury itself.

    Speed is of the essence for any competitive sailor, but keeping ahead of the pack in racing also means keeping up with the latest design developments, whether they affect the aesthetics of the boat for the better. This is also true for the Mini Transat 6.50 race, also known as Transat 650, a solo transatlantic yacht...

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    This is the first time in the world that a component of this size has been produced using a recyclable acrylic resin.


    Among the new innovations in a prototype of the Mini 6.50, Arkema 3 includes a new recyclable manufacturing resin to build the boat, a new rig where a soft wing replaces the conventional mainsail and retractable and tilting foils. Arkema 3 is a new contestant to follow closely during the next Classe Mini races.

    Let’s focus on the hidden part of this revolutionary boat, its structure. Arkema 3 is made of carbon fiber infused with a new recyclable resin developed by Arkema: Elium.

    Lalou Roucayrol, skipper of Arkema Multi 50 and founder of Team Lalou Multi, the boatyard where Arkema 3 was built, said in a press kit :

    “The greatest innovation of this Arkema Mini 6.50 is the Elium resin, which represents the future of offshore sailing boat building.”

    Solving Thermoplastic Issues

    Most thermoplastic products are made with short discontinuous fibers, such as chopped glass fiber, for reinforcement. If they can be considered as fiber-reinforced composites, their strength is not that high and they cannot be used as structural parts.

    Secondly, thermoplastic resins are mostly in a solid state at ambient temperature, and in order to impregnate the fibers, the resin must be heated and the pressure raised.

    Arkema’s Elium resin is liquid at ambient temperature, which allows resin transfer molding or vacuum infusion, which are now widespread manufacturing techniques for racing boats. It is therefore possible to produce structural parts with this new resin.

    Recyclability Constraints

    Pierre Gerard, composite expert of Arkema GRL, explains in a video (in French):

    “The idea was to be able to develop a resin that is liquid at ambient temperature, and so that can be processed like a thermoset resin while retaining this thermoplastic character which is highly desirable for recyclability constraints in particular”

    “This is the first time in the world that a component of this size has been produced using a recyclable acrylic resin. It was quite a significant step forward”

    This is the first time in the world that a component of this size has been produced using a recyclable acrylic resin.

    Reducing the Footprint

    According to the necessary modifications, the boat can be reshaped by thermoforming without cutting and making new parts. At the end of its life, the resin and the fabric panels can be reused to build new composites.

    This is a major step forward in boat building as boats made of thermoset resins such as vinylester, polyester or epoxy can only be dismantled when their owner definitely separate from them at a recycling deposit, where all composites are destroyed and chopped to finish in an incinerator.

    Boatbuilding is now on a more sustainable path.


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    We spent a lot of time ensuring that Conrad Colman will have power, and backup power.

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    A bit less than a year ago, a New Zealand skipper based in France met a Finnish technology provider at the METS trade show in Amsterdam. A little more than a year later, this skipper will rely on this technology in the Vendee Globe 2016, the most difficult round-the-world race, while achieving an environmental...

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    Wim Vercauter

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

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    Maria Roberta Morso

    Maria Roberta Morso is a freelance yachting journalist based in Italy.

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    Samantha Fisk

    Samantha Fisk worked at RINA for 7 years and has now gone into freelance for European magazines.

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    Kristina Müller

    Kristina Müller is a freelance journalist writing mainly about nautical and medical issues.

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    Ludovic Nachury

    Journalist and innovation enthusiast for more than 10 years, Ludovic Nachury is VirtualExpo e-magazine’s editor-in-chief.

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    Pascal Braud

    Pascal Braud is one of our content experts at NauticExpo.

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