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A serious control surface

Jan 26, 2009 If you think your boat has a deep spade rudder, check out this monster rudder built by GMT Composites of Bristol, R.I. The big rudder on GMT president David Schwartz's left is destined for the boat Lady B., a 147-foot sloop under construction at Vitters Shipyard in the Netherlands. The rudder on his right is for a Farr 44.

From the press release: GMT Composites, a leader in carbon composite engineering and production, recently shipped this (see attached image) extraordinary rudder to Vitters Shipyard in The Netherlands for installation in a 44.7 meter (147-foot) sloop under construction there. Lady B, designed by Dubois Naval Architects and scheduled for 2009 delivery, is a flush-deck mega-sailer with cutting-edge styling and state-of-the-art technology in construction, materials as well as gear and equipment.

Because sailing performance is a key factor in the design brief, this aluminum-hulled sloop features a towering high-aspect rig, a lifting keel with 4-6 meter (14-20 feet) draft and 240-tonnes displacement. Those factors will generate loads on her rudder appendage which could only be pratically solved with a carbon composite solution. Because GMT had previously worked successfully with both designer and builder on mega-sailer rudders, they returned to GMT for this critical component.

The GMT rudder is 6.1 meters (20 feet) in height, has a chord depth of 1.4 meters (4 feet 6 inches) and yet, including the carbon stock, weights only 421 kg (926 pounds). A rudder built with a steel stock and at these dimensions and equivalent strength would weigh 5-times as much, an unacceptable situation when lightening weight in the ends of the yacht is so important for enhancing sailing performance.

David Schwartz, President of GMT Composites, stated as this rudder was being prepared for shipment, "This remarkable rudder will be part of an even more remarkable yacht. Lady B will cruise at over 20 knots, subjecting this rudder to extreme loads. Precise engineering followed by zero-defect manufacturing insure this rudder will perform, even when conditions are most demanding." Schwartz also noted, "We are very proud of our association with Vitters and Dubois and with the magnificent yachts for which we have built these rudders."

GMT has a distinguished record in the mega-yacht field, continuing to be the reliable source for structural components, masts (with and without internal furling), booms (conventional, pocket and new PowerFurl), poles, sprits, rudders, stairs and boarding systems. GMT is recognized worldwide for its carbon composite engineering and custom manufacturing, not only for yachts but also for robotic and other machine parts, medical devices, aerospace and undersea applications as well as special items used in national defense.

For additional information on GMT's rudders or other carbon composite capabilities, contact GMT Composites, 48 Ballou Boulevard, Bristol, Rhode Island 02809 USA. Phone: 401.253.8820; Fax: 401.253.9395; E-mail: info@gmtcomposites.com. Website: www.gmtcomposites.com