The researcher of sustainable solutions for the marine industry, Italy-based firm GS4C srl, partnered with Isomatex, the Belgian manufacturer of high-end aerospace grade enriched basalt fiber. Isomatex produces enriched basalt fiber under the trademark Filava™ with a diameter of filament less than 11 μm. Filava™ is unique thanks to a genuine and innovative treatment of the raw material, basalt, which is enriched with various mineral additives to increase and guarantee its original mechanical and chemical properties.
GS4C has run a series of trials in collaboration with Isomatex to verify that once cleaned from the resin, the Filava™ filaments could be re-entered into the manufacturing process to obtain new virgin fiber from end-of-life recycled material.
To demonstrate this approach GS4C is now building a 100% recyclable sail-racing boat according to the Mini6.50, that is a standard used for the Mini Transat, the Atlantic yacht race. The Mini6.50 is very short (6.5m long) and beamy, being nearly half as wide as it is long and designed for shorthanded offshore sailing.
First created in 1977, the bi-annual Mini Transat has become a legendary race over the years. It typically starts in France and ends in Brazil covering over 4,000 miles with a stop in Madeira or the Canary Islands. It is a race for all the talented up-and-comers who want to break through in the world of offshore racing.
GS4C plans to set a new standard in sustainable boat building. Given the tradition that sees the Mini6.50 class at the leading edge of innovative thinking in the sailing world, the team of GS4C decided that this could be the perfect showcase for something as innovative and disruptive as a sustainable sail-racing boat made entirely from recyclable enriched basalt fiber and a bio-based resin.
Over time a growing number of shipbuilding companies have begun relying on basalt composites benefits. We have covered Open 16 Fipofix yacht, which twice crossed the Atlantic Ocean, and trimaran from France-located boatyard Sardine Run.
However, GS4C set a high goal to draw attention to the environmental aspects of composites manufacture and recycling.