Prepreg materials from Advanced Composites Group Ltd. (ACG), part of Umeco Composites Structural Materials (UCSM) - a Division of Umeco plc, have been used by Hakes Marine Limited to build the new 54ft grand prix racing yacht Oystercatcher XXVIII designed by Tom Humphreys of Humphreys Yacht Design.
Launched in Wellington, New Zealand in mid-October, Oystercatcher XXVIII represents the second Humphreys-designed racing yacht for owner Richard Matthews.
The hull and deck of Oystercatcher XXVIII were constructed from ACG's Lloyd's Register of Shipping approved VTM260 Series carbon prepregs direct from female moulds, a technique adopted by world-class designers and builders of ocean-going craft. This technique offers optimum surface finish and minimal material usage, thus delivering the race-winning performance demanded by yachts in this class. The hull utilises a foam-core to provide the requisite toughness for offshore racing while the deck and internal structures employ Nomex honeycomb cores to reduce the overall weight. Central to the design is a hydraulically operated lifting keel, which effectively reduces the draft from 3.65 to 2.5m.
The rig, supplied by Southern Spars, has been manufactured using ACG's MTM57 Series ultra-high modulus carbon fibre prepregs.
Oystercatcher XXVIII is heading off to compete in a gruelling race program encompassing Cowes Week, the Key West Race Week, Rolex Fastnet, the RORC Caribbean 600 and Ocean Races.
First launched in 2001, ACG's VTM260 Series prepregs found immediate success in the America's Cup. These prepregs have also come to the forefront in the gruelling Volvo Ocean Race, scoring two victories to date.
VTM260 Series prepreg, the first and only prepreg system to have received Lloyd's Resister approval, is now widely accepted in the marine industry and is the prepreg of choice at the highest levels in yacht racing. ACG's VTM260 Series offers low pressure, low temperature (from 65°C) processing options. Lloyd's Resister approval was recently extended to include ACG's new variant, VTM267, which has been optimised for resin film infusion, a process favoured for the heavier fabric reinforcements typically used in series production. Combined with a complementary range of surfacing and adhesive films, mouldable cores, 30-day workshop out life and polyester gel coat bonding capability, ACG's VTM260 Series is proving to be an exceptionally versatile marine prepreg system.