First sea trials of Kuka-Light
We are very proud to be in the Kuk- Light team as one of the partners to build this super light and rock solid 40 feet monohull speed machine. In order to get the outmost from the prepreg carbon materials Marstrom has been chosen as a building partner due to our high knowledge and competence of using state of the art autoclave technology, the same technology as used in Aircraft, formula One industry and for the Marstrom catamarans.
What's really unique in this project is that the Marstrom autoclave technology for the first time is used for hull and deck sections to a monohull sailcraft of this size.
Autoclaved carbon parts from Marstrom to Kuka-Light
All deck and hull parts, integrated gennaker pole, rudders, keel fin, foils, rotated wing mast, boom... wow!!
Length 12.80 mt, beam 4.60 mt, Draft 3.50 mt, Displ (light) 3'200 kg, Upwind SA 116 mq, Downwind SA 218 mq, Engine 30 HP, ISOOSR Cat 1, Sailnumber SUI 4200, Owner Franco Niggeler
Quotes from the Kuka-Light team
"The idea of creating Kuka-Light started to spin around my head when I realised that to improve the Rating of my boat I had to have smaller sails and make the boat slower. This is absurd for a yachtsman used to racing with A class catamarans and with Melges 24 boats. Speed and apparent wind are synonyms of fun for me so I asked myself: why give up on fun and give up having maximum performance? I decided I wanted to feel the same sensations as when I am sailing my A class also on a keelboat made for demanding regattas such as the Middle Sea Race or Fastnet; building a 40 foot boat that is as light as possible and that uses the apparent wind to maximise its possible performance." Quote from: Kuka Light owner Franco Niggeler
"We started with a clean sheet of paper and applied many principles from our multihull background. The choice of the designers was crucial as we intended to create something different. So an established designer with experience would have problems to forget all what he had done before. In the same time we needed a team of designers capable to do a real race boat. Do to our multihull experience we decided that weight was the highest priority. This resulted in the end with probably the highest power to weight ratio keel boat ever launched." Quote from: Kuka Light helmsman Mitch Booth
" While the Designers worked at the computer and at the drawing board, the shipyard or, more accurately, shipyards were chosen, because it was decided to build the hull-deck shell in Sweden at Marstrom, a shipyard that Franco had been acquainted with for years as it is one of the biggest builders of race catamarans and great expert in composite constructions. The work plan was drawn-up with them, which envisioned the construction of various elements of the hull and the deck. These would then be transported to the Cantiere Soleri in Italy, which would have the task of assembling the parts, creating the internal structures and fitting-out the essential systems and interior furnishings." Quote from: Kuka Light project manager Sebastiano Rech Morassutti
First video of Kuka-Light, pretty to see and very fast...
Pictures below from the first sea trial...All pictures courtesy of Kuka Light
Enjoy also below some more very interesting quotes from the Kuka Light website...
click on picture to enlarge
"As it stands, if Kuka were an IMOCA 60, it would be 15% lighter than the nearest competitor. There is nothing like it on the race course. It is wide for its length, 4.6 m wide for 12.7 m LOA. It is has a considerable sprit and an upwind sailplan almost exactly the same as a Class 40, at a fraction of the lightship weight. Kuka has been a unique project, the best challenge we have been presented with to date, and likely for the foreseeable future." Quote from: Kuka Light and Doug Schickler-ST Yacht
"To get the lowest possible weight of the primary hull and deck laminates and unprecedented approach was taken. We decided to build the port and starboard sides, the central hull, and the deckhouse and cockpit each in the largest diameter autoclave available to us. This gives access to huge pressures during cure and allows one to choose prepreg’s with far higher fibre to resin ratios than is normally possible. This is exactly the kind of construction techniques ruled out in the America’s Cup, the VOR, and even IMOCA yachts, except for the masts and appendages. Because we were working at a reasonable scale, the costs were not explosive. The weight savings were unattainable any other way. It goes without saying that bowsprit, foils, and mast would also be produced in this same hi-tech fashion." Quote from: Kuka Light and Doug Schickler-ST Yacht
"The power to weight of the canting keel proved unbeatable with technology today, for the regattas in question. The efficiency of the rotating wing mast, enhanced by a boat that would sail more like a catamaran than like a fixed keel mono, was too attractive to be ignored. The process of building was promoted by the sailing team from a very early point in time. The hull, in as far as possible would be autoclave cured at Martström in Sweden. The Extreme 40 mast and sail plan became the standard concept for this boat’s mast and rigging as well." Quote from: Kuka Light Doug Schickler-ST Yacht