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Zoltek to Supply Carbon Fiber for Around the World Ocean Racing Vessel
On April 18, 2012
Zoltek Corporation, the largest global supplier of commercial carbon fiber, has agreed to sponsor Team Fahajó, a Hungarian race sailing team, as they compete in the IMOCA Ocean Racing World Championship Series beginning in 2013.
Led by sailor and boat builder Nándor Fa, Team Fahajó will begin building their full-carbon, 60 foot (18.3 meter) racing boat in April 2012 and plans to launch the boat by May 2013. Upon completion, Nándor Fa and Team Fahajó will compete in five IMOCA World Champion Series races, the last of which is the Vendée Globe 2016-2017 – a 25,000 mile, single handed, non-stop race around the world.
In the 1990’s, the time record for sailing around the world was 110 days – today it’s 84. This is due in large part to the advancement and adoption of carbon fiber. The light weight and structural stiffness that can be achieved with carbon fiber gives great advantage to a sailor, especially when sailing downwind. Additionally, the use of carbon fiber allows for a larger sail surface in relation to the size of the boat. By using carbon fiber, Nándor Fa expects his finished boat to weigh 8.8 tons, which is 30% lighter than same sized boats built with traditional materials such as fiber glass.
Zoltek Corporation will be supplying the carbon fiber needed to construct the racing boat. The entire hull and the mast will be built with Panex® 35, Zoltek’s primary carbon fiber product.
Uni-directional fabrics will be used for the lower hull of the deck, the beams, the keels, and the rudders – this will comprise 70% of the carbon fiber used. The remaining 30% will be used in the interior structure and dividing walls, which will be constructed from uni-directional and multi-directional fabrics with vacuum infusion.
Structurally, many racing boats in the IMOCA Series today are built with a honeycomb core, which over time has caused recurring structural problems, according to Nándor Fa. For this reason, Nándor plans to use a closed cell form sandwich structure that he believes will correct this problem and facilitate a safer and more structurally stable vessel.
The assembly for the mast will take place at Pauger Carbon Composites, a premier and innovative maker of carbon masts. Pauger is most known for building the RC44 fleet, which is widely recognized as among the most technologically advanced fleet designs today.
Nándor Fa and Team Fahajó are planning to compete in the IMOCA World Championship Series beginning in May 2013. Full race schedule here: Transat Jacques Vabre (double-handed), Europe Race (full crew), Route du Rhum (double-handed), Barcelona World Race 2014-2015 (double-handed, round the world race), and the Vendée Globe 2016-2017 (single-handed, nonstop around the world race). Further details on each race can be found at www.imoca.org).
The Fa Hajó Company was launched in 1993 with the goal to design and build custom racing yachts. Their boats have participated in at least 6 circle navigation races and countless trans-oceanic races and passages. The company also designs and builds marinas in Hungary and at the Adriatic Sea. More about Fa Hajó Company: www.fahajo.hu.
About Nándor Fa
- 1985-87 – Sailed around the world on a 31 footer cruising boat, first ever from Hungary
- 1990-1991 – Participated in the BOC Challenge his first solo voyage with a 60 foot open class racing yacht designed and built by himself (Newport, RI to Newport, RI)
- 1992-1993 – Placed 5th in the Vendée Globe; a non-stop, single handed yacht race (France to France)
- 1997 – Placed 4th in the Transat Jacques Vabre, Trans-Atlantic Race with new 60 footer boat, designed and built by himself (Le Havre, France to Cartagena, Columbia)