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SEP 2018

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NEWS CompositesWorld.com 65 High-performance structure at lower cost Bieker gave up building the boats himself some 15 years ago and realization of his I-14 designs was turned over to Henderson Boat Co. (Seattle). But he remained committed to the class. As this decade dawned, Bieker's then most recent model, the Bieker5 or B5, which featured a hull and deck of autoclaved prepreg design, was fast and popular, but also was much more costly than Bieker's out-of-autoclave option. For his B6 design, Bieker decided to take his out-of-autoclave version one step further and make its hull and deck a high-performance structure built not only without high-performance processing, but also without aerospace- grade materials. Bieker's final design calls for a hand- built, vacuum bagged wet laminate, and specifies standard-modulus, mid- grade carbon fiber, now typically sourced by Henderson from Toray (Toyko, Japan and Tacoma, WA, US) or Hexcel (Stamford, CT), primarily in 200g 0/90° plain-weave and 300g unidirectional fabric, with knitted double-bias cloth for use as additional reinforcement patches in the layup. e resin is Gougeon Brothers' (Bay City, MI, US) Pro-Set 125/229 epoxy laminating resin. Bieker also developed the B6 design to be as close as practically possible to the minimum carbon composite construction, but they have class restrictions." In preparation for races in this class? "If you can find a better, stronger way to make an I-14," he maintains, "go for it. You are allowed to make the boat different." at's long been a doorway to design exploration for naval architect Paul Bieker. Doing business as Bieker Boats LLC in Seattle, WA, US, he began designing, building and sailing Inter- national 14 boats 28 years ago. "At first, I was the client all the way through to the builder — a pretty useful expe- rience," he says. "I quickly learned if you design something that's difficult to build, then when you are the builder, you suffer your own mistakes and it costs you." Bieker has designed and built carbon fiber composite I-14s using autoclaved prepreg with a Nomex honeycomb core, as well as a less-expensive ambient-cured, vacuum-bagged wet laminate with a foam core. "A well-built vacuum bag part is about 60-70% of the strength of a prepreg construction," he says. But in the I-14 worldwide racing events, where these small skiffs are subject to intense and rapidly changing loads imposed by wind, water and the swiftly moving crew of two, "the prepreg boats are a little lighter and a little stiffer, but both types of boats can be competitive." High-tech but Accessible Unlike many sail racing classes, the I-14 does not have weight or materials use restrictions. FIG. 1 "Fourteens are forever" Designers, builders and sailors devoted to this racing class say once you've tried an International 14, no other boat will be quite the same. Here, an I-14 sails with the wind, with bowsprit extended (left) and (right) sails into the wind, with bowsprit retracted. Source (all photos, unless otherwise noted) | Bieker Boats and Henderson Boat Co.

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