We’ve been gathering info about the new mini-maxi Highland Fling, and last week, we spoke to her rigger, Todd Cooper, from RSB Rigging Solutions. Here’s a quick run down on a new development in the ultra-high performance market:
SA: You’ve gone about things a bit differently with HF’s running rigging. Why?
TC: I’d been getting fed up for a while about the widespread gouging the larger yachts get by their dedicated yacht rigging suppliers. Especially the superyachts, which just get murdered on cordage. So I spoke to the folks at Hampidjan, the Iceland-based fishing line manufacturer, to propose that we work together to come up with some good high-performance solutions for big racing yachts. Hampidjan had already been supplying some of the top boats – Volvo 70s and the like – but usually through a rigger or rope company that added significantly to the cost, and we looked at how to make it better and less expensive.
SA: So who’s distributing the line? How do our readers find it?
TC: Hampidjan is looking for dealers but they haven’t quite sorted it out yet, so at the moment, you have to drop us a line so we can set someting up. We should be able to announce a new solution very soon, and we’ll keep your readers posted.
SA: So when did you start testing the stuff?
TC: About a year ago we did our first run of the new ropes, and now they’re on megayachts like Sojana and Velsheda, as well as on much of the TP52 and GP42 fleet. In some cases, we’re able to deliver line to our customers at 60% of the cost of competing suppliers – and our stuff is better.
SA: Besides the price, what’s different, exactly?
TC: I’m sort of obsessed about putting small lines on big boats – and on Fling, there isn’t a single line thicker than 14mm. We also realized how important the angle of the braid is on some lines, and developed a system that uses the right cover and the right core on every application – sheets and halyards need totally different cover braid angles, for instance. We saved more than 25 kilograms just in the way we did our covers, splices, and lashings.
SA: And what about the blends? Is there anything really new out there?
TC: Lines continue to develop, but I think we have a long way to go just to learn to use the stuff we’ve got now! We’re spending a lot of time experimenting with how to get more out of our combinations of line types for performance, longevity, and price. Why use SK78 where SK75 works exactly how you need it to? When does PBO make sense? And of course, there are a few things we can’t mention just yet…
SA: What about little boats?
TC: We’re just starting to mess around with them, and RSB has been helping out some of the juniors that have asked for help with really small stuff for 420s. In fact, one of our teams is 3rd right now in Europe, and a Swedish girls’ team with our lines just got something like 7th place at Kiel Week despite never having sailed a 470 yet! Not saying that we were the reason, but it’s certainly rewarding to work with folks like that.
SA: And what’s RSB like? You must travel a lot?
TC: We’re actually a part of a larger boat yard in Palma, and it’s a great bunch of people to work with. It’s a Spanish-owned company but we’re like the United Nations – my co-workers are Danish, Argentine, British, Irish, Columbian…it’s great.
SA: Thanks much for your time, Todd – and let us know when you’re ready to share more of your trick stuff – especially for the little boats!
TC: Absolutely, and thank you too. And anyone who wants to know about our stuff can reach me via email for now.