SP-High Modulus to provide composites, expertise for Tour de France boat

SP-High Modulus will supply composite materials, engineering and expertise for the M34, a one design that has been selected for the prestigious Tour de France la Voile.

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SP-High Modulus, the marine business of Gurit (Isle of Wight, U.K.), announced on Jan. 15 that it will supply composite materials, engineering and expertise for a one design that has been selected for the prestigious Tour de France la Voile. The winning design, named M34, was revealed in July 2009 as the successor to the Farr 30 (the one design used from 1999 to 2010) and developed using a complete package of SP-High Modulus engineering and advanced composite materials. The manufacture of the first M34 unit has begun this month.

The Tour de France la Voile is an annual yachting race around the coast of France. The race is unique in that every team uses the same boat so that their sailing skills are judged above all else. Since the event's establishment in 1978, only six monotypes have been used. So when the brief was issued in September 2008, one of the criteria was that the boat should be sturdy enough for up to 10 year's racing.

Boat yard Archambault won the competition against about 30 other entries. Their winning design, M34, is 1m/3.1 ft longer than the Farr 30 at 10.34m/34 ft, and will be more powerful than its predecessor thanks to a greater sail area/displacement ratio. She will also be able to sail longer offshore legs, allowing for the opportunity to create the first transatlantic with a crew on a one design. SP-High Modulus will work in collaboration with Archambault, French yacht design office Joubert/Nivelt/Mercier Design, and the systems manufacturer Isotop in the design and development process of the M34, which will be launched in March 2010.

SP-High Modulus' technical team proposed a selection of materials including an epoxy resin system, Corecell M-Foam core and an E-glass carbon/glass fabric especially made for this project, and has become an essential partner for the development of materials and engineering. The company has also worked with Aster Composite Co. on the hull and deck process, as well as working with Isotop on the carbon/epoxy rudder, keel and bowsprit.