Lalou Multi and the Arkema Chemical Group collaborated to come up with a race boat packed with innovation, but the real breakthrough is one you can’t see
Wing sail, foils and telescopic keel – a Mini revolution
This is Arkema 3. She was launched in 2016 and she pulls together several cutting edge design technologies. She has a telescopic canting and rotating keel. When vertical, she draws 2m but when the keel is canted, the keel extends to offer more righting moment. It can also be rotated to provide lift to windward. She has articulating foils too, and caps it all off with a wingsail. Even in a class known for its willingness to embrace the future, this is wacky.
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In October this year young skipper Quentin Vlamynck will sail her solo across the startline of the Mini 6.50 Transat, from La Rochelle to Gran Canaria, then on to Martinique. What follows will determine if all these features work together. What is not in question, though, is the fact that this is the first composite boat that will be able to be recycled. At the end of her life, rather than cluttering up a boatyard or being chainsawed into landfill, she can be dismantled.
She has been built using Elium, which is a styrene-free liquid thermoplastic acrylic resin developed by Arkema. At the end of the boat’s life, she can be ground down and the materials reused to make new composite structures. End of life boats are becoming an ever-bigger problem precisely because composite boats we have built for the last 60 years using standard resins cannot be recycled.
For more on this remarkable project, click here.