Highland Fling 18

Credit: Robin Christol

Southern Spars & The New Gunboat 80: More Than Just a Fling 

Credit: Robin Christol

Southern Spars is proud to have provided its high-performance carbon rig technology to the newly launched, first-of-its-kind GB80 ‘Highland Fling’.

With Highland Fling, Gunboat have made a statement of intent. The GB80 is set to make a huge impact – targeting serious, competitive sailors and experienced racers looking for a turbo catamaran that excels both when racing and cruising.

Southern Spars has been excited to be part of a trend of multihulls breaking the mould and challenging what a racer-cruiser catamaran can be, and the new Gunboat 80 represents a new epoch in the performance catamaran world.

The first GB80 could hardly be in better company, and is the 18th yacht in the legendary Highland Fling series. The second GB80 is already in build and destined for none other than serial offshore record breakers Team Argo. Holding close, successful relationships with these eminent owners, as well as a well-documented track record of pushing both mono and multihulls into new realms of performance and luxury, Southern Spars was the obvious choice to deliver their carbon rig packages.

A Closer Look

The GB80 is the result of remarkable collaborations between design and manufacturing professionals at the leading edge of their fields, including Fibre Mechanics, VPLP Design, and designers Christophe Chedal Anglay and Patrick le Quémen along side the very successful Fling racing team.

Pushing weight-saving and performance to the extreme, the landmark model is a full prepreg carbon build, with assisted foils. Industry leaders Fibre Mechanics in the UK and Multiplast in France played pivotal roles in the construction process, ensuring each element is featherlight, strong, and extremely reliable.

“With Highland Fling 18, we have looked to create a high-performance racer that allows an older owner to enjoy high speeds and excitement. The collaboration between Southern Spars, North Sails, VPLP and the Fling Racing team has made for what promises to be a very exciting new generation of yacht that will extend an owner’s racing enjoyment and comfort for many years.”

Xavier Mecoy, Manager, Highland Fling Racing.

Credit: Robin Christol

Innovating as a Group

Working closely with our partners at North Sails, Southern Spars delivered a rig package to unlock the load-sharing performance power of North Sails’ Helix structured luff technology.

Dale Morris, Group Head of Global Design, Southern Spars:

“The design process, through close collaboration with our sister company North Sails, was highly rewarding. We were able to really dive into the details of how the rig would influence the sail shape and performance across the entire wind range. There was plenty of focus on the load split between the luff of the sail and the headstays, to ensure we could take full advantage of North Sails’ Helix structured luff technology.”

Credit: Robin Christol

Quinny Houry, North Sails Superyacht Division:

“Highland Fling 18 has been an amazing project for North Sails and Southern Spars. The initial phase of the project was developed with JB Braun, Head of Design, North Sails.

The collaboration with the owner’s team, VPLP Design, North Sails, and Southern Spars meant that a design was developed that was in line with the client’s expectations, with extraordinary attention to detail and a focus on performance.

Once the sail shapes and mast profiles were determined, we were able a to build a comprehensive wardrobe of sails to cover the required performance, relying on Helix structured luff technology to give the sails the range required to keep the number of sails to a minimum, while covering the full spectrum of wind speeds and angles.

This needed to be matched with the Southern Spars mast and boom setup to make sure we could achieve the required articulation and load. The collaboration between our group of companies enabled us deliver and a make the full sail trials on the spar, deck gear and sail package in less than a week. This was only possible with the vision and diligence of the owner and the Highland Fling team, who did an amazing job of keeping the project on track at all times.”

To bring excellence in design and manufacturing together with outstanding service, our colleagues from RigPro took the reins for stepping and commissioning. Following the stepping, the quick sign-off from the Highland Fling team confirmed the quality of the service delivered.