Helping Nautivela to Build Winning Boats
Nautivela is one of the leading global manufacturers of sailing boats in the Olympic 470, 420 and Optimist classes. Its boats are being used by the best sailing athletes around the world, winning important regattas and championships. Key to success for Nautivela has been the close collaboration with AOC, allowing its boats to stand out from competition.
In a sailing regatta typically over 300 sailing boats are competing during a 50 to 60 minute period for reaching the first spot. This requires sailing at high speed throughout the race, minimal loss of speed when maneuvering and turning, in combination with an easy and reliable boat control. The ability of reaching high velocities combined with the flexibility to react fast to changing race conditions, makes world champions select boats from Nautivela already for many years.
Easy into Planar Mode
When sailing boats are lifted by the wind above the water surface (moving in so-called planar mode), they travel at much higher speed then when moving through the water (so-called displacement mode). So it is important for boats to get up to speed as fast as possible, and smoothly swift into planar mode. The transition between these modes typically occurs every 1.5 minute during a race, e.g. when reaching a beacon turning point or when there is an unexpected effect of wind and tidal waves.
Compared to the boats used in regattas 10 years ago, the current generation boats made by Nautivela are much stiffer. A stiffer boat will move more easily in planar mode, and consequently reach much higher speeds. So continuing to increase boat rigidity has been a key development requirement for Nautivela.
In the official sailing regattas organized around the world, the dimensions and weight of the sailing boats are mostly prescribed. This means that all boats should have similar wall thickness and shape, and are to be made from unsaturated polyester resins.
“While these rules do not provide a lot of room for us to improve our boat designs, we have been successful in optimizing laminate structure and build-up through the great support of AOC”, comments Paolo Portiglia, Managing Director of Nautivela. “We could use their combined expertise to select the best resin, gelcoat, reinforcements and processing techniques. This has resulted in an increase in laminate stiffness over 15% vs. the conventional laminates used by our competitors. Clearly, this makes a big difference for the athletes that are racing in our sailing boats during a sailing regatta”
Listening Well to Customer Needs
Nautivela works closely with the individual athletes to optimize the balance of their boat, overall stiffness and attachment of sails and rigs. “Taking into account the age, skills and experience of our customers we help them through fine-tuning the boat so they can obtain the best results in the race”, adds Paolo Portiglia. “We work with customers in the age of 12 to 50, all using different ways to express their needs and preferences. We enjoy to best translate their desires into the design of a finalized boat. I can say we are very proud that we can deliver unique boats that perform time after time, off course with the great support from our suppliers.”