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Of Wings and Strings – Cordage with Gottifredi Maffioli

by John Curnow on 20 May 2011
Gottifredi Maffioli Air Swift Mainsheet Projects Marine
Since 1926, Gottifredi Maffioli has been involved with the production of all manner of twines, threads, ropes and cordage. Since the 50’s, the name has also become one of the world’s leading suppliers to high-end sports enthusiasts, to now, where Gottifredi Maffioli running and standing rigging has been the choice of racers from America’s Cup, to Admirals Cup and many trans-oceanic classes.

All of that is truly fantastic, but it is also very interesting to note that they are very much aware of and focused on the development of that most special of classes - our young sailors. All sails are wings ultimately, so the development of a new product for junior sailors that is directly linked to the top end of the sport is something truly magnificent.

There were nearly 1000 optimists sailing at Lake Garda in Italy, just three weeks ago actually and it was there that Gottifredi Maffioli’s new Optimist mainsheet was deployed.

It is machine tapered, which has three distinctly different cords in it. Constructed with double braid machine tapered AirCore, with a Dyneema SK75 no-slip fibre cover, the first section is 1.4m long and 5.5mm wide. The next section is 2.7m long at 9mm and the final section is also 2.7m long, but just 7mm in diameter, for an overall length of 6.8m’, said Carl Watson from Projects Marine, who distributes the line in Australia.

Weight reduction and the materials deployed are the main features of this Grand Prix version of the Optimist mainsheet. It’s called Air Swift and the benefits of this swiftcord are that fact that it offers the rare combination of being lightweight, yet strong, durable yet very comfortable. ‘We are sure this will be a winner with the Optimist fleet globally’, said Carl.

He’s quite qualified to speak on the matter, too, having been intimately involved with some of the best vessels to have been built in Australia for global consumption. With 22 years of experience, his expertise in deck hardware, rigging and modern fibres is as strong as the all those vessels combined.

Moving right to the other end of the spectrum, Gottifredi Maffioli have been chosen to supply all the standing and running rigging for the Multi-One-Design, MOD70 Trimarans. ‘The really interesting things are on the standing rigging. All of the lateral cables are made of XZ90. The furling cables are made also in XZ90 and some also in Kevlar. The running rigging is a mix of our Grand Prix and Racing Product lines’, said Carl.

Gottifredi Maffioli’s XZ90 is a product certainly worth being proud of. Designed to make the most of the super-strong, Zylon® PBO fibres, yet not have the same chafing and flex fatigue issues, in a Gottifredi Maffioli proprietary process, the PBO is wound with Dyneema® SK90 in every strand to produce the XZ90.

The result allows the former to provide added strength and reduce elongation issues associated with the latter, which provides the best possible product for these most crucial of rigging components. Additionally, strength, durability and overall weight goals are also achieved by utilising this unique process. It’s little wonder then that many mono and multihull ocean racing teams have benefited from the use of XZ90.

Because of all that, it is really of no surprise that the very same XZ90 cables are also being supplied to the AC45’s in order for them to move the wing of sailing’s latest thoroughbreds. ‘We are also the official supplier to the Artemis America's Cup campaign, which is a great honour for the company. It is also wonderful to have our DSK90 product involved in all the AC45’s, as well. Their strength to weight ratio has been tested from Alinghi to Banque Populaire V and a lot of other things in between. We feel very proud of this involvement and it speaks volumes of the Research and Development carried out by Gottifredi Maffioli, Dyneema and of course, all the many teams who have utilised it’, said Carl.

To get your hands on the best in strings and rigging, from the new Airswift Optimist mainsheet, please contact N.B Sailsports on 02 4340 2223 or email info@nbsailsports.com.au

If the wonderful XZ90 or any other of the range of Gottifredi Maffioli ropes and cordage is for you, please contact Carl and the team on 02 9913 3057 or at http://www.projectsmarine.com.au/


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