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Tech brief: Smooth operators

Nautix

North Sails


IN COLLABORATION WITH NAUTIX

When the world capital of ocean racing is right there on your doorstep there is also no shortage of knowledgeable – and demanding – volunteers to push you to develop a superior product.

There is not one racing sailor who has not felt the bottom of their hull and worried about skin friction. Think of the hours spent perfecting that surface so that not one second is lost on the racecourse due to excessive drag. Nautix has developed a full range of innovative paint products that are growing in recognition and acceptance in the racing community.

What sets Nautix apart in the coatings business is their small company size with a deep heritage in performance sailing. As part of the famous Lorient Sailing Valley, Nautix has for 40 years been well within the culture of innovation that routinely produces some of the world’s finest sailors and yachts.

The company’s roots are in windsurfing, which in the 1980s was on a meteoric rise in popularity and in desperate need for reliable quality equipment to meet the demand. Nautix remains a trusted supplier in that business.

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Nautix took on yacht coatings as more innovation and diversity was needed in the niche, but important, market of performance paints.

Being modest in size, Nautix has excelled by being responsive to the specialised demands of the serious offshore racing sailor. Proximity to the latest and greatest French offshore projects has also helped, giving them a unique opportunity to develop their products alongside all the other developments in this important scene.

Nautix
Main image: Nautix has a very distinguished client list. Its specially formulated antifouling, appendage, deck and cockpit paints were used on 80 per cent of the yachts in the 2020 Vendée Globe fleet. Nautix is also the official partner of Classe Figaro Bénéteau, which means that the entire Figaro fleet uses their PE primer combined with A4T Speed antifouling.

Their success is shown in their client list: 80 per cent of the 2020 Vendée Globe fleet used Nautix products, including Thomas Ruyant, Jean Le Cam, and Clarisse Cremer.

The relationships they have had with these skippers and their teams to meet their unique demands has been a cornerstone to Nautix’ success.

‘We work directly with customers to understand what they need,’ says Matthieu Taburet, commercial director at Nautix.

‘If they are doing a mix of dry sailing and racing, we have a product for that. If they will leave the boat in the water for weeks or months and can’t dive and wipe the surface more often than a week or 10 days, then we have a solution for this. And if they are in the Caribbean or other places with high growth rates, then we have a product for this too.’

Examples include their A4T.Speed hard matrix antifouling, designed to support a hard smooth surface that also includes compounds that reduce friction and still have biocide effectiveness. This is suitable for the top-tier race programmes and high speed powerboats where skin friction must be at the absolute minimum.

A4T.Speed also comes in a white coloured formulation designed for dry sailed boats that need a hard surface and some antifouling properties too. A9T.Speed is similar to A4T, but comes in fluorescent colours for use on appendages for high visibility. To protect America’s Cup-level foils, daggerboards and rudders, Nautix developed NX 194, an extremely hard epoxy coating.

For more casual racers that will not have regular dive services but still need a hard surface, A4 Yachting may be the right product. A8 is a specially formulated for RIBs with their unique demands and uses. And A7T.Speed is specially formulated for spray can application on propellers and Z-drives.

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Along with these raceboat suitable coatings and a full range of fillers, primers, solvents and other support products, Nautix has found solutions for even more specific problematic situations. They have, for example, solvent-free epoxy resin products useful for older carbon yachts that have suffered through poor past protection.

And for stainless steel keels, notoriously difficult to accept finish coatings, Nautix has developed Metapox as an adhesion promoter between metals and epoxy protective coatings – this is also perfect for new or refitted aluminium boats and is an exclusive product in the industry.

In finish coatings, Nautix formulated an innovative “cold paint” in collaboration with the Hugo Boss racing team. This system reduces the temperature on black colour surfaces by 30 per cent, for better composite protection. Similarly, Nautix produces non-skid systems dedicated to applications in the cockpit (hard) or deck (medium grip to protect sails).

With an international importer network in place, Nautix exports its products and expertise to many countries and maintains an active R&D programme to create the next generation of paint systems.

Click here for more information on Nautix

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