Monday, July 13, 2015

The catamarans are coming

The Hall Spars' Auckland factory has all hands on deck at the moment with two catamaran masts underway. 

Combining luxury and speed with a classic design aesthetic, a Schionning 60 is due to make waves in Australia. The Schionning 60 will feature a high modulus Hall Spars seamless mast and raising wing boom for stowage of the mainsail when at anchor. 

Also under construction, a Roger Hill 20-metre is slated for September launch. The Roger Hill 20-metre has a seamless high modulus, rotating wing mast and Oceanfurl boom to enable full sail control from the cockpit.

Designed by engineers who are experienced sailors and constructed utilizing Hall’s proprietary Seamless carbon fiber process, the masts are cured to 6 times atmospheric pressure in an aerospace grade autoclave. Combining high-performance, style and toughness, the completely homogenous tubes deliver maximum structural reliability and save impressive amounts of weight. 

Upon completion, a Hall rigging technician from the international service team will be on site for stepping, dock tuning and sail trials, ensuring a perfect match between mast and sails.  

Hall Spars has specialty catamaran mast sections and specific multihull engineering programs designed to get the most out of your multihull, both in terms of safety and performance.

Dave Ridley, Hall Spars NZ Operations Manager, says, “Multihulls are a fast growing sector of our business.  We have devoted a large amount of resources into ensuring our engineering software and manufacturing processes are suited to the complex pitching and rapid spike loadings involved in multihulls. We have a range of sections available to best match your fixed or rotating mast with a range of high performance moduli of carbon that enable us to reduce the all-up weight and pitching of the boat. Both of these factors vastly impact a catamaran's performance and comfort in racing and cruising.”

Catamaran mast manufacture underway at Hall Spars Auckland

Mills 45 High Performance Now Under Construction

We've just begun construction on a high-performance Mills 45 race boat mast at our Auckland factory. With a mast made out of ultra high modulus and fibre that is .15 of a millimetre thick for specific laminate placement, optimal stiffness and weight reduction, this, combined with Hall's seamless technology, is set to give the best performing mast tube available.

Upgrade your performance

For boats looking to gain a performance edge, your mast is a good place to start for weight and righting moment gains. Boats Like the KC44 Swish in Sydney, carrying new high modulus spreaders, are seeing gains with simple equipment changes that deliver on the course. Improve your boat's performance in small increments without breaking the bank by trying a carbon forestay or rigging set, spreaders, backstays, running rigging or boom as a great way to lighten the boat. Ready for a new mast or upgrade? 
Slots for 2015 are almost 100% taken with only very limited positions available. If you are thinking of purchasing a mast, please get in touch with Dave or Garry to book your build slot for 2016.
Email Dave
Email Garry 
Swish shows what she can do on the water. Photo courtesy Howard Wright 

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The Seamless Process of Hall Spars & Rigging

“For me, there’s only one way to do things­ – the ‘best’ way. Only the best people, the best tools, and the best materials will give you the best results. And the best way is fluid – it’s always evolving. Every day we’re pushing, testing, and asking questions to ensure that our way is ‘the best.’ When you walk through our factories, you can see and feel our commitment to innovation everywhere you look. Whether it’s an engineer in the shop discussing a new idea with the carbon fabricators or one of the foremen evaluating a new tool, there’s a feeling of total involvement. We’re all working to build the best spar that we can build . . .  the best spar anyone can build.”

                              -Eric Hall, president
The Best Way to Build a Carbon Mast

Experience is the most important tool in composite construction. Experience translates into unmatched laminate quality as well as continued process innovation. At Hall, we’ve worked with carbon since 1984 and autoclave curing since 1992. In fact, Hall is the only mast builder with more than two decades of experience working with carbon.

Over the years, we’ve tested many construction methods. Everything we’ve learned has led us to the male-molding, autoclave-curing method. In combination with the Hall molding technique, the autoclave produces seamless, virtually void-free, tubes. Through testing (both our own and independent testing) we’ve proven that the Hall process results in a spar that’s lighter, stronger, and better. This is what led to the initial investment in the autoclave in ’92 and to our acquisition of the two long (40- and 46-meter) autoclaves in our factories today.

In Hall’s process, pre-preg unidirectional carbon fiber is laid up around a shape-optimized mandrel (the male mold). The carbon is applied one layer at a time according to precise engineering specifications. Each layer of carbon is compacted to remove any air bubbles. Then the complete piece is autoclave cured to 6 bar pressure and a temperature of 121° C.  The tube we create on a mandrel is seamless and, due to aluminum mandrel expansion with heat, the fibers are stretched straighter than with any other method. Fiber straightness is basic to advanced composite laminate performance: the straighter the fibers, the stronger and stiffer the laminate. When the mandrel is removed, the tube is one piece of uninterrupted solid carbon. No other manufacturer uses this exact technique.
Mandrel molding, however, is not a simple process. To eliminate the risk of wrinkling on the non-molded surface (in this case, the outer surface of the mast) extreme care is required during the carbon lay-up process. In Hall’s proprietary process, each layer of carbon is carefully compacted before and during the autoclave process to ensure wrinkle-free laminates even in thick-walled tubes.
Mandrel-molded, seamless masts have tooled, smooth inside surfaces. From an engineering standpoint, these surfaces provide highly accurate and predictable areas for mounting close-tolerance computer-machined fittings. And halyards slide smoothly inside the mast.
Aerospace and Formula 1 builders use autoclave curing because of its ability to produce aerodynamically superior shapes. In combination with our proven strength characteristics, a Hall carbon spar is the obvious choice for high-performance applications.
The seamless mast is globally more aerodynamic than masts made using other systems. The key element in rig/sail aerodynamics is the mast’s ability to bend optimally for sail design shape – at minimum weight. Without the baggage of lap joints, glue, screws and filler that masts with full-length seams require, a Hall seamless mast is lighter for equal bending stiffness. Yachts with lighter masts heel less, maximizing sailplan aerodynamic efficiency. We are not restricted by our tooling when it comes to placing strengthening fibers in the laminate – fibers are applied where needed.
Seamless masts have external reinforcements (internal reinforcements would inhibit extraction of the mandrel and inhibit proper fit of internal fittings). Wherever there is a tang, spreader fitting, or hound box, there are external reinforcements (doublers). Do they add drag? Computational Fluid Dynamic (CFD) studies show that such doublers increase mast section drag (without sail) by only hundredths of a percent. When the same section is attached to a sail, the drag increase is virtually immeasurable. Compared to the very measurable benefit of the lighter masts that have them, these doublers are a non-issue.
Our shape predictions in pre-preg laminates are extremely accurate; even with thick laminates, predictions are accurate to tenths of a millimeter. The surfaces are so smooth that we’re able to apply a clear-coat finish to the surface with no weight-adding filler.
What you see through the remarkably accurate and aerodynamically smooth finish of a clear-coat mast tube is the fascinating array of the structural fibers themselves. In addition, seamless masts have an unbelievably good track record. The combination of autoclave curing at 6 bar pressure and profile homogeneity creates extremely tough mast tubes. We invite you to visit either of our factories and see our process. We guarantee that you’ll agree – for tubular structures, nothing beats Hall seamless. 

Benefits of the Hall Seamless Carbon Tube

• Weight: The Hall construction method eliminates the need for any glue, screws, or filler. Therefore, Hall’s engineers can accurately predict the weight of each mast before it’s built.
• Strength: Our obsession with compacting each layer of carbon means the tube is virtually void-free. Mandrel molding ensures that the fibers are perfectly straight—straight fibers are essential to carbon strength.
• Stiffness: Again, because the piece is homogenous we can accurately predict (and create!) optimum stiffness characteristics throughout the spar.
• Aesthetics: Hall’s careful process results in a tube so smooth (even though the exterior is not the molded surface) we can beautifully clear-coat our spars. We use woven fabric as accent material, giving the spars a beautiful finish.
• Aerodynamics: Each mandrel is shape optimized by Hall engineers, using advanced FEA and solid modeling tools. The laminate matches this shape exactly, and the resulting tube is perfectly smooth and presents the optimum aerodynamic shape.
• Added bonus: The inside of the tube is perfectly smooth. Halyards run freely inside the mast, with nothing to catch or snag.