The transformation of Rondal into a high-tech maker of composite rigging, deck-wear, windbreakers and winches is gathering pace. Its three-year-old innovation drive offers crucial support for super sailing yacht maker Royal Huisman, Rondal’s sister company.
Until recently, Rondal’s halls were abuzz with the sound of workers crafting aluminium hatches, doorways and other gear. But Rondal is going composite. In addition to ‘baking’ all-carbon rigs of 70m and taller, it now turns out a vast range of out-of-autoclave cured composite products – from carbon anchor whips to bowsprits to window frames.
It has just crafted a composite 11m x 9m superyacht superstructure, helped a student team build an entry in the 2018 Solar Boat Challenge, and is marketing complex, multi-panel sliding doors.
Facilitating change, company officials told IBI, is a more can-do management that took charge of Rondal and Royal Huisman last November. Nothing shows its ambitions better than the seven massive captive winches and four electric feeders – each weighing 500kg – on a Baltic 142 yacht, now in build at Royal Huisman.
Rondal sales manager Bas Peute says the 18-tonne winches “have an entirely composite chassis. Even the drum is made of carbon.” Rondal says it has found a future for its edgy electric winches. These have a conventional aluminium chassis, but the hydraulic motor will be replaced by a 700V AC motor. This raises the capacity of Rondal winches from six to 24 tonnes.
For its part, Royal Huisman proves that reports of the death of large sailing yachts is greatly exaggerated. It is building an 81m schooner (the world’s largest aluminium yacht, due for launch in 2020), a 56m aluminium ketch and Project Phi – a 60m motoryacht. Also, Royal Huisman’s refit facilities – two in the Netherlands and one in Germany – are filling up.