Driven by technology

Visit Persico

A fascinating range of rather large products in the Persico pipeline...

Bergamo and Persico Marine are currently building the seventh VO65 hull for the 2014- 15 Volvo Ocean Race. To create this true one-design fleet the structures have to be incredibly accurate but also incredibly precise, two criteria that are too often confused. In scientific method - ology the accuracy of a measurement system is the degree of closeness of measurements of a quantity to that quantity’s actual value. The precision of a measurement system is the degree to which repeated measurements, under unchanged conditions, show the same results.

The male plug for the VO65 hulls was created using Persico Marine’s 25m CNC milling machine and from that the female mould was produced employing infused carbon. Across the first six completed hulls, which each weigh approximately 1,500kg, there has been a variation of less than 2kg. Meanwhile, every panel of each hull is coded; and behind the code is detailed information from manufacture, including the non-destructive testing (NDT) data produced by QI Composites. All of this information is held in a database where it can offer great value for future and existing projects.

Even though boat no7 is in production Marcello Persico himself is quick to remind us that the task is far from complete. ‘Yes, it is true that we are in the process of completing VO65 hull no7 and that the intention was to produce eight,’ he says. ‘But we are also under contract to produce hulls for the next race. And for this race we still have to produce many spare parts and other components such as the daggerboards and bowsprits.

‘This is a full project by itself, for example the complexity of the VO65 daggerboard is incredible. From the outside it looks like a flat board, but inside the ribs, the laminate and the form that optimise the structure and weight are extremely complex.'

Top: It now looks certain that a new 60ft one-design will emerge from the original Ciao Gianni daysailer
Below: Infusing the hull mould prior to VO65 production and the 20m communications mast

Since summer 2012 Persico’s 6,000m2 facility, in the industrial heartland of Italy, has been extremely busy, not only building the VO65 hulls but also two 72ft Mini Maxis. These are really challenging projects as the Mini Maxi class is controlled by the IRC system, which really allows designers to push the build technology in terms of the composites used in construction.

Another interesting project is the evolution of Ciao Gianni, a Frers 60 daysailer, which is gaining interest from owners with the intention of creating a fast one-design class. The Frers 60 project team includes Manni Frers, James Stagg and YCO. The construction will have a similar attention to the detail as the VO65, using the same build methods. All the parts will be made out of CNC female moulds to optimise weight and performance – while the empty displacement of the completed boat will be barely 11,000kg.

Persico Marine are also currently finishing off a 20m carbon fibre communications mast as a custom project for a huge sailing yacht. The mast is self-supporting, which requires complex engineering, especially as it needs to be very stiff and stable. This communications mast was produced in one piece and boasts similar tooling and dimensions to an AC72 hull…

This is a wide variety of projects all coming to fruition in one location. As Marcello Persico explains: ‘Persico are driven by technology, not by the market. We really enjoy working on projects as diverse as these because we believe that our strengths mean that we can ultimately give more to the customer.’

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