Pirelli Labs realizes inflatable spars for Luna Rossa sails

The new spars for the genoa, fitted on the Italian boat in the Louis Vuitton Cup in Valencia, were created with technology and materials used for racing tyres
Milan, 1 June 2007 - Pirelli Labs, the technology research center of the Pirelli Group, has built innovative inflatable spars for the genoa, the large triangular forward sail, for the Luna Rossa.

The new inflatable spars, currently being used on the boat racing in the Louis Vuitton Cup in Valencia, were conceived as an alternative to the traditional rigid glass or carbon fibre spars and have been realized with materials typical of racing tyres.

The use of reinforcement spars for genoas, introduced into the 2007 America's Cup regulations, allows for increasing the surface of the sail but makes manoeuvring more difficult, in particular in tacking when the genoa, especially if of larger size and with rigid inserts, must skip around the mast. To solve this inconvenience, Pirelli designed inflatable spars with the same characteristics of rigidity, light weight, and shock absorption of traditional ones, but with a decidedly superior elasticity. Beyond a certain level of deformation, in fact, the inflatable spar collapses, losing its rigidity entirely but without breaking, later returning once again to its form and rigidity when the external prompting is reduced