Record-breaking masts win Portsmouth firm top industry gong

From left, University of Portsmouth head of brand strategy and corporate communications Emma Fields, Portsmouth FC commercial director Anna Mitchell, university governor and former Portsmouth FC President David Willan, football club CEO Mark Catlin and university vice chancellor Professor Graham Galbraith

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A PROJECT to design and produce some of the world’s tallest ship masts has won a Portsmouth-based firm a top award.

Magma Structures won an Outstanding Project of the Year award for the engineering, design and manufacture of the world’s tallest carbon composite masts.

The masts have now been installed on a superyacht, which is known as Sailing Yacht A.

The company was also awarded the overall Wessex Region Engineering Excellence prize at the awards, which were held in Winchester.

Managing director Clive Johnson said he was delighted with the firm’s success.

Mr Johnson said: ‘It is a fantastic accolade for the whole team at Magma Structures who for the past three-and-a-half years have been involved in the engineering design and manufacture of these incredible composite masts.

‘To have our achievements in terms of engineering excellence recognised is a real boost for the team.

‘We were delighted to win not just the Outstanding Project of the Year but also the overall Engineering Excellence award.’

The masts for the superyacht are more than 90m high and are are designed to withstand bending loads of more than twice the load on a Boeing Dreamliner wing. Each mast is able to rotate using systems mounted on ‘wings’, which added to both the design complexity and the build challenge.

The masts can support sails bigger than a standard football pitch.

The yacht itself is 468ft –143m – long.

The awards were organised by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and celebrated the engineering talent from businesses from across Hampshire, Dorset and Isle of Wight.

Wessex region chairman Nick Schulkins said: ‘The Wessex region is full of hardworking, dynamic and innovative engineers, and these awards have given them the chance to have their stories heard.’