Boat Design

Do fibreglass and carbon fibre mix?

"Let's put carbon fibre in there," says the marketing director. "That stuff's stronger. And I can sell it as a high-end feature."

"Yup, yup," replies the shop foreman. "We can do that. It's a bit pricey though, maybe we could use just a bit of it mixed with the fibreglass."

Fast forward three years, and both men are scratching their heads over why the component- which was, according to the designer, more than strong enough in fibreglass alone- has failed catastrophically even though they added a "better" material.

TL;DR: Mixing different fibres in the same load path can lead to a component being weaker than it would be if only one type of fibre had been used.

Composite chainplates: The ideal solution for composite hulls

Sometimes, old ways of doing things survive simply because "that's how it's always been".

From time to time, though, it is useful to look at the old ways to see if, in the context of modern knowledge, they still make sense. If they don't, perhaps they should be changed. In today's article, I'd like to take a look at a key component of many sailing yachts- the chainplate. Current chainplate designs date back to before the Industrial Revolution, and I think they're overdue for a redesign.

Sailboat rigging costs scale disproportionately with size

Size can be deceptive, particularly where a boat's purchase and operating costs are concerned.

Let's consider the cost of a sailboat's rig. We'll assume that the annual cost of maintaining and repairing the rig is a fixed fraction of the cost of building the rig in the first place, and this fraction does not change with size- an assumption, yes, but likely a reasonable one for yachts of typical design and modest size.

TL;DR: The rate at which you spend money on a sailboat's rig increases faster than the increase in boat size. This expenditure can be minimized by designing long, slender, efficient hulls that can be driven to good average speeds with relatively small rigs compared to shorter, fatter boats of the same size.

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