An update from Phil Sharp

"Following the temporary release of the hull from the mould a couple of weeks ago, the hull and majority of the bulkheads have undergone rigorous quality control checks using ultrasound, all successfully meeting quality standards. 

"The large majority of the bulkheads have now been bonded and laminated into the boat, and the yard is now working on the final couple of structural bulkheads, in particular the mast and deck spreader bulkhead which will be highly loaded areas and so carry many reinforcements. 

"In parallel, the deck started construction last week, which is effectively built upside down over a male mould. This is a sandwich structure arrangement, built with two thin carbon fibre skins either side of a very low weight nomex honeycomb core. It will take several weeks to complete with a multi-stage curing process before the deck can then be joined to the hull. 

"In the meantime there will be a great deal of other structure and reinforcements joined into the hull, particularly around the foil and keel supports, which carry enormous forces and bending moments when the boat is travelling at high speed, in particular the high dynamic impacts the boat received when slamming into waves whilst foiling.  

"In early July, when all the composite structures have been completed, the boat will then be moved to the shipyard in Nantes where all the systems will be fitted, included the hydrogen-electric energy system, electronics, and deckgear."

Phil Sharp, Skipper, OceansLab - Cleantech Accelerator

© Joka Gemesi / Pauger Carbon

The laser positioning system enables millimetre precision placement of fibre layers so that they can be accurately laid up into the hull structure of OceansLab.


Behind the scenes: Hydrogen IMOCA construction - episode 1



Bulkheads are upright walls within the hull of a boat serving two key purposes: 

  • Increasing the structural rigidity of the boat.
  • Creating watertight compartments that can contain water in case of a hull breach or other leak. 

There are some 20 bulkheads, or ring frames, that have been installed in OceansLab. They are made from prepreg carbon-epoxy with a lightweight nomex core, and produced and cured separately on a table. The bulkheads are fixed into the boat with carbon fibre tabbing that creates an incredibly strong join.

© PuraVida Images

From Oceans Lab