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Grand Largue Composites Sicomin empowers a Class40 flax fiber racing yacht

Crosscall racing yacht on the water.

Crosscall Yacht racing on the water. Image credit, all images: Sicomin

Sicomin (Châteauneuf les Martigues, France) fibres, fabrics, epoxy resins and adhesives were used by Grand Largue Composites (GLC, Mondeville, France) to build what is said to be the first Class40 racing yacht to feature a large amount of flax fiber reinforcements.

The yacht is called CrosscallHe won the World Class 40 Championship in June 2022 and is a prototype for the new championship Lift V2 Designed by Marc Lombard, one of the leading naval architects in the field.

Class40 is one of the most competitive fleets in yacht racing. The hulls of a Class 40 yacht must be lightweight, strong, rigid and durable in the harshest conditions. Furthermore, to keep costs down, they cannot be reinforced with carbon fibres. Therefore, the quality and reliability of the resins used for pumping and lamination of structures are of primary importance.

According to Sicomin, the owner of CrosscallAurelien Ducroz, was careful to use as much flax as possible in building the yacht, but Lombard—who had to certify and guarantee the hull of the boat in ocean racing use—was more careful. So a compromise had to be found.

Kruskal The cockpit is designed to be effectively non-structural, with the main cover which can generate massive shock loads, is supported separately. This would allow the cockpit to be made of a hybrid biaxial fabric comprising 50% flax fibres. Other parts of the boat that contain flax fibers include the tunnel, bonnet, ballast tanks and cover. The rest of the boat is reinforced with 100% fiberglass fabrics.

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To make the design a reality, a skilled injection specialist, GLC, turned to longtime material supplier, Sicomin. The hull is shaped and grooved into one piece, and the deck – including the flax-fibre hybrid cockpit – is grooved as one. The inner hull was then laminated into the hull by hand before the hull and deck were finally bonded together.

The infusion resin of choice is Sicomin SR 1710, a high modulus (HM) structural epoxy. Designed specifically for use in infusions and injections, it has a very low viscosity and low reactive hardener that makes it suitable for large part production. Components made of SAR 1710 have been reported to possess a high shear strength between the plates and the resin retains its mechanical properties in wet environments.

Sicomin low toxicity SR 8200 was used to laminate the internal structures onto the hull skin. Ideal for manual lamination, this system incorporates a selection of tempering materials with a wide range of reactions, making it equally suitable for making large or small parts. The structure and surface were bonded with Sicomin Isobond SR 7100, showing high compressive strength and resistance to microcracking.

A bond epoxy primer—called Undercoat EP 215 HB+ and supplied by Sicomin’s sister company, Map Yachting—was applied to the moldings first to facilitate demoulding. It also acts as an undercoat in a polyurethane exterior coating system that is used in place of a gel coat to protect the epoxy structure from UV damage.

Since launch CrosscallGLC started building a second Lift V2 Class 40 and Class 3 are now planned, both of which Sicomin will provide materials for. “We’ve used Sicomin products since the beginning, we’ve never had a problem and I don’t want to risk trying another supplier,” says Xavier Gosselin, managing director of GLC.

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