RGI takes up the challenge

Team Australia is a challenger to the next America’s Cup yacht race to be held in 2017.

RGI was chosen by Team Australia to help prepare its challenger yacht an AC45 catamaran, because of the RGI’s long-term involvement with specialised paint treatment to the yachting industry.

David Rice explains, “The task was to wrap the hull with special protective vinyl film and the mainsail also needed specialised wrapping treatment as it acts as a wing. The jib and gennaker was painted with our protective Hypershield® coating in our workshop, and because it was so large we had to process 20 square metres at a time by moving it through the booth – it then went onto the factory floor to attach the vinyl lettering with a special high-grade adhesive.

“The two sections of the hull were 45 feet (15-metres) long, requiring several large sections of vinyl film to be laid with precision, with each section measuring 15 x1.5-metres. It was sealed to withstand the direction and strength of the water,” adds David.

He says the mainsail acts like an aircraft wing, but of course it’s vertical, being 20-metres high by approximately six-metres. Its framework is made from carbon fibre with a Clysar membrane. It had to be soft wrapped on both sides with a different vinyl film than the hull – the criteria was to add minimal weight, with strong adhesion, ease of application and to resist the effect of hydraulics caused by the water.

David says, “The enthusiasm and cooperation by the Team Australia guys was second to none, their professionalism and initiative was just terrific to receive from a client – an absolute pleasure to work with. They are aptly named Team Australia. And we completed the entire job in six days – on time and on budget, under pressure I might add.”

Bob Oatley’s Hamilton Island Yacht Club is the mainstay behind Team Australia’s challenge. Their catamaran AC45 was launched in Sydney Harbour in March and will train on the harbour with America’s Oracle Team catamaran.