yes they can

Building an AC50. Southern Spars Big Pimpin’.

Southern Spars have been building some of the best masts in the world for more than a quarter of a century, and for their first few challenges outside the realms of masts and rigging they haven’t lowered their sights even a fraction.
Equipped with some of the best minds and hands in the world of composites, in mid-2016 the company set out to flex their design and manufacturing muscle outside the world of carbon spars. The first challenge they took on was revolutionising track cycling wheels for the New Zealand Olympic Track Cycling Team. Southern’s R&D and production teams produced a set of 32 wheels, which helped the NZ team set the fastest opening lap of a velodrome ever recorded at sea level and take home a silver at Rio.
Even before the wheels had been delivered the second challenge appeared on the horizon. Southern Spars’ co-founder and head of sales, Mark Hauser, got a call from Kevin Shoebridge, Emirates Team New Zealand’s COO. The contract for building Emirates Team New Zealand’s yacht for the 35th America’s Cup was up for grabs.
‘I absolutely knew we could do the job,’ says Hauser. ‘We are perfectly set up, we’ve got one of the best carbon fibre manufacturing plants in the world, and some of the best guys to do the job.
‘Our relationship with Southern goes back a long way,’ says Team New Zealand CEO Grant Dalton. ‘This is our sixth campaign together, so we knew that we could trust them to deliver. Their skills in carbon manufacturing – be it masts or anything else – are of the absolute highest standard. Producing the rest of the yacht at Southern Spars became a natural choice because of the experience and skills they have on offer.’
Southern were already building two of the complex 23.6m wings for Emirates Team New Zealand when it was confirmed that they would build the most technologically advanced yacht that New Zealand – and potentially the world – had ever seen. At this point progress on the first wing was very advanced. It was delivered well in advance of the raceboat so that it could be used in training and development on their 45ft test boat. Read on.