CST Composites is looking forward to the 2016 Rio Olympics with a keen eye on the sailing events.
Numerous sailors from different countries, across a number of different classes, are hoping to win gold in Rio, using CST Composite’s latest tiller extension products. The tiller extensions are critical in steering the yachts through the course.
They are the result of years of development by the Sydney-based carbon fiber and composite tubing, profiles and components manufacturer that had its beginnings in high performance sailing masts.
Founder and CEO Clive Watts, a keen sailor working for Hawker de Havilland on advanced aerospace composite components for Boeing in 1995, identified an opportunity in the high performance sailing market for filament wound masts. He set to work and built his own filament winding machine and software from first principles.
After winning several world titles CST Composites’ filament wound sailing masts quickly became popular and remain the most technology advanced sailing filament wound masts on the market. Continued development of filament winding technology has enabled CST Composites to diversify into new niche markets and continue to develop its sailing products
“We are very passionate about what we do and providing the best products for our customers that help them to win races. We have a never-ending quest to go faster!” says Mr Watts.
“In order to do this we have aligned ourselves with some of the best sailors on the planet and fortunately for us, they have been based in Australia which has helped with development of our products.”
In the 2012 London Olympics, the CST Tiller Extension products were used successfully by many sailors and helped win gold in the Laser and 49er classes.
Clynton Wade-Lehmann, CST’s Marine Sales Manager and a former Olympic sailor says: “Our tiller extension is 22mm in diameter and is untapered so it’s easier to grip. Also the fibres aren’t unidirectional. By orienting fibres off axis we’ve engineered some flex into the product, while improving durability. The final layer is an open-weave, spiral helix in aramid (Kevlar) fibre which further improves damage tolerance and grip. It also aids to keep the extension in one piece even if the carbon fibres are broken.”