BMComposites

Mark Branagh discusses the growth and innovation in composites due to the increase in superyacht volumes and the need to manage weight on board

BMComposites have successfully undertaken some of the largest and most complex composite projects to date. Their work spans everything from innovative composite components, such as superyacht fender systems, swim ladders and stairs, deck components and starlink flagpole antennas to full-custom structures for superyacht sun decks, superstructures and exterior deck furniture.

Stand-out projects to date have included several hardtop biminis, a complete flybridge redesign for the iconic 78m SY M5, construction of a skylounge for 73m MY Coral Ocean, and extensive weight saving works for the beautiful JK7 Velsheda to name only a few.

As BMComposites have been in the forefront of superyacht refits in Palma for nearly 20 years, we asked Managing Director Mark Branagh for some insight into the progression of composites within the industry over the past 10 years.

“Composites materials are being relied upon in marine construction these days a lot more than people realise,” begins Mark. “The increasing length and sheer volume of superyachts we have seen completed in the past 10 years has driven the need to create stiffer and lighter structures that can achieve the innovative hull and superstructure forms that the most prolific designers are demanding.” Mark continues, “This increasing need for composites also brings along with it strong development in technology and advanced materials. The most noticeable benefit of building with composite materials during the past 10 years has been in rapid mould manufacturing.”

Mark explains how access to CAD technology and modelling software, which can vastly improve their accuracy and efficiency during a build, and inevitably expedite delivery time and reduce the cost of bespoke items, has revolutionised the sector. “Using 3D scanning onboard, whether it is for an internal modification or a large add-on structure, we work with the modelling software to create what are often incredibly complex moulds that can be rapidly cut by CNC milling techniques. The use of resin infusion or autoclave cured prepreg give us direct parts for the tooling that usually need only a paint system to finish,” explains Mark. “Gone are the days of filling and fairing, aspects which all added time, weight and huge cost to the finishing of parts. Structures and parts built in such a way can often be fitted to a yacht in a matter of hours, which means less yard time and cost savings.”

Composites will continue to be a material of choice for the superyacht industry as they offer relatively unlimited possibilities compared to the abilities of aluminium and steel. “As we refine our processes to reduce building costs it soon becomes apparent that composites will, in the long term, be the cheaper and more ecological option,” Mark concludes.

BMCompositesThis commitment to leveraging the latest technology in carbon fibre construction has lead BMComposites to become the go-to name for those seeking multifaceted solutions and aesthetically engineered structures. With a team of over 40 specialists covering everything from CAD design, 3D modelling, engineering, project management and fabrication, BMComposites offers an end to end in-house service from concept to delivery.

A recent opportunity for the company to apply their expertise came with rule changes brought in by the IRC last October for competitive yacht racing. These changes opened a new world of possibility for the super Maxi yacht fleet to increase speed and performance, and those quick off the mark implemented major changes over the winter period ready to storm the race circuit this season, and the results have been staggering.

BMComposites were approached by several yachts seeking these performance enhancing updates. The season’s success began with the Wally Cento Galateia taking the Maxi Class trophy at Palma Vela, and was followed by SY V who was victorious at the Tre Golfi Sailing week, winning their class and becoming the IMA Maxi European Champions.

“This was Galateia’s first competitive outing since undergoing an extensive programme of performance enhancing adaptations completed by the BMComposites team. We transformed the concept ballast layout into a workable system – comprising of four tanks (two per side), with a fully automated pick up, transfer and discharge system. Working alongside Reichel/Pugh Yacht Design, Diverse and Pure Engineering, we completed the design and layout for the system, with all composite components constructed in our purpose-built facility for ultra-lightweight CFRP parts. At the crucial moment, the system can transfer large volumes of water to the opposite tank with impressive speed,” explains Luke Hendy of BMComposites.

Other ways that superyachts can apply the skills of BMComposites and benefit from the weight saving advantages and structural strength of carbon fibre composites, are with more typical componentry items like swim stairs, passerelles, hatches, awning systems, pillar fenders and shell doors.

“For sailing yachts seeking to give themselves a performance edge, or motor yachts looking to save weight aloft for stability or fuel consumption, carbon composites are the obvious choice. There’s really no limit or restriction on what is possible,” says Luke.

For more details visit www.bmcomposites.com