NEW FRON­TIERS

Top Yacht Design - - Contents - Lu­ca Bas­sa­ni An­ti­va­ri - foun­der and pre­si­dent of Wal­ly

New ma­te­rials ha­ve al­ways of­fe­red new op­por­tu­ni­ties on bo­th a func­tio­nal and ae­sthe­tic pla­ne. In the nau­ti­cal world, the shift from wood to fi­bre­glass and then car­bon-fi­bre in­tro­du­ced new sty­les to ex­te­riors and in­te­riors. A good exam­ple is mo­tor­boa­ts: when they we­re being built from wood, their ex­te­rior li­nes we­re all flat sur­fa­ces, sharp an­gles and matt paint­work to hi­de im­per­fec­tions. The ad­vent of fi­bre­glass saw li­nes be­co­me roun­der be­cau­se it was im­pos­si­ble to mould per­fec­tly flat sur­fa­ces whi­le roun­ded ones pop­ped out of the mould ab­so­lu­te­ly fla­w­less. To­day we ha­ve ad­ded a new ma­te­rial, la­mi­na­ted glass whi­ch can even be used in hulls. As a re­sult li­nes are chan­ging still fur­ther to al­low the­se ul­tra-flat pa­nels fit in­to hulls (cur­ved win­do­ws are too ex­pen­si­ve). So new ma­te­rials are stron­gly in­fluen­cing the look of our boa­ts yet again. In the sai­ling are­na, Wal­ly has in­tro­du­ced ma­ny in­no­va­tions, among­st them two ma­te­rials that ha­ve in­fluen­ced de­si­gn mo­re than any others: car­bon and ti­ta­nium. Car­bon has al­lo­wed us to build ve­ry stiff masts wi­th the re­sult that the big old ge­noas can be re­pla­ced wi­th smal­ler jibs. It has ma­de boa­ts lighter too wi­th broa­der and flat­ter wa­ter­li­nes. Hen­ce the new ge­ne­ra­tion of boa­ts wi­th ve­ry broad sterns, lar­ge in­te­rior spa­ces and su­per­la­ti­ve speeds on a clo­se rea­ch. Ba­re car­bon is used in in­te­riors not ju­st for its light­ness and tou­gh­ness but ae­sthe­tic im­pact. Even the car in­du­stry has jum­ped on that band­wa­gon, going so far as to in­vent fa­ke car­bon for in­te­riors. It is the sa­me story wi­th ti­ta­nium, whi­ch is light, stiff, doe­sn’t tar­ni­sh and is war­mer in co­lour than mo­st other me­tals. It has thus be­co­me an es­sen­tial con­struc­tion ma­te­rial as well as a style and fur­ni­shing go-to. Ju­st two exam­ples of how new ma­te­rials im­pro­ve bo­th func­tion and ae­sthe­tics. He­re’s to the next ones!

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