Experience in ocean racing is invaluable and Southern Spars has a wealth of it, beginning with the launch of Sir Peter Blake’s dominant race winner Steinlager 2, and supplying spars to podium finishers in every race since.
Within one-design rules, all the rigs must be identical in terms of dimensions, weight and stiffness. Southern Spars’ robust production processes guarantee this. The first seven rigs to be bend-tested for the 2014-15 race showed a discrepancy of just 1.4mm across the board.
The deck-stepped mast has a tube length of 28.4m (98’) and is built from High Modulus Carbon Fibre. It was designed in-house by Southern Spars using the DesMan and RigCalc software packages, integrated with the North Sails design software. Structurally, there are 202 pieces of Carbon Fibre pre-preg in each mast tube, with an additional 52 patches of structural reinforcement.
The Volvo Ocean 65 sports a 7.68m racing box boom again built from high modulus carbon and weighing 68kgs. Its deep section provides maximum stiffness to weight efficiency and provides extra downwind sail area. With internal locks at the outboard end of the boom, reefing is made efficient for the crew to manage in strong winds.
The rigging consists of nine separate stays and is constructed from intermediate modulus carbon fibre, with main stays that have a 26-ton minimum break load. The ECsix carbon rigging is four times lighter than comparative nitronic steel rigging. It has a multistrand construction based on a bundle of small rods for safety, durability, longevity and flexibility in the toughest conditions.