18 Oct 2016

First law of the sea: make sure you always look after your bottom.

Or, to put it another way: to meet the high-tech demands of yacht design in IRC ocean racing, you need a very special brand of steel in your keel.

Here's another example of a company designing and manufacturing boats that make big demands on the used in their construction and finding that for high performance, BISALLOY® steel is not only best for their bottom - but, ultimately, the bottom line, too.

The Keel Hall of Fame.

Bakewell-White Yacht Design, is a designer of custom and production yachts of all styles - power and sail.

The company's philosophy is simple and uncompromising: there is no excuse for poor performance, whether it be a hi-tech racing yacht, cruising yacht, super yacht or power boat.

With that background, it's perhaps not surprising that, internationally renowned yachtsman Ludde lngvall approached Bakewell-White to perform optimisation work on his equally famous

IRC ocean racing yacht, Nicorette. This included fitting a new rudder, and more advanced keel and bulb.

In fact, Nicorette became the first IRC yacht to have its keel fitted with a trim tab.

Now, of course, there's a lot more to winning an ocean race than a new keel.

The skipper, crew, hull design, sails - all play an enormous part in bringing home a yacht first in such a demanding event.

However, BISALLOY® steel’s unique combination of light weight with great strength played a decisive part in allowing alterations to the keel that made the boat decidedly quicker through the water.

The result: Nicorette went on to win the Sydney Hobart Ocean Race.

Nicorette's keel comprises a solid BISALLOY® steel spar with a composite fairing. Without resorting to a cast and milled fin, this was a simple method of producing a thin, low drag section - the key to greater boat speed. Alex Nolan, naval architect for Bakewell-White:

"What we're looking for is high tensile and shear strengths and lighter weight. Bisalloy's quenched and tempered steel allows us to produce a smaller, narrower keel spar. It is also cheaper than casting and milling a billet of high strength steel."

Apart from cost, the main benefit in racing?

Alex Nolan: "In simple terms, it is clearly faster than a fatter keel."

The success of Bisalloy steel in this application encouraged Bakewell-White to employ it in new, more advanced keel designs.

For instance, the company has used BISALLOY® steel to produce fabricated box sections which offer much the same properties as a solid billet, but lighter (this method was not available at the time of fitting out Nicorette).

Boats to benefit from Bakewell White's design, and BISALLOY® steel’s combination of greater strength/lighter construction for their keels include:

•    El Toro - 67ft Lifting Keel. Solid Slab
•    Braveheart - Transpac 52. Solid Slab
•    Starlight Express - Davidson 55, Retrofit keel.

Australia's Unique Steel, Meeting Unique Challenges

As Australia's only manufacturer of quenched and tempered steel, Bisalloy is proud to continue to answer the many demanding design and manufacturing challenges from many diverse industries.

For IRC maxi-yachts competing in the world's toughest ocean races, BISALLOY® steel proves, time and again, it is never out of its depth in protecting top shelf products - and bottom lines.

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