Racing with the wind

    Monday marked the start of the Race of the Classics — one of the largest student sailing events in Europe, with teams from universities across the Netherlands.

    It was a gray and rainy morning, as four of our colleagues boarded the “Abel Tasman,” to support 30 enthusiastic students on Team Rotterdam. But, the team wasn’t fazed by the weather at all, keeping warm in sailing jackets sporting the LM Wind Power logo.

    Engineering students from Rotterdam Mainport University enthusiastically welcomed our colleagues onto their boat, and even commented on the clear link between sail boats and blades — both designed to capture the wind!

    “We are excited at the opportunity to participate in this Dutch tradition and build community relations,” said Chris Springham, VP Global Communications, HR & Sustainability. “Exploring the world of sailing links to our strategic thinking over the coming year, while attending the race helps us connect with talented future engineers in the Netherlands.”

    Boats and blades
    Producing high-quality sailing boats is part of our heritage, before we began producing wind turbine blades in the 1970s. But, building boats isn’t our only link to the world of sailing. Here are some fun facts our colleagues shared with the sailing team:

    Our current biggest blade is 73.5 meters in length — 50% longer than the team’s ship, the “Abel Tasman” (49 meters). The blade is so large that the sailors could all stand inside it — with a 3.2 meter root size, weighing 28 tons and designed to survive 20 years of operation.

    Blades, like boats: Have to be optimized aerodynamically / hydrodynamically; Are made out of composites (glass fiber and combined with carbon); Need to be strong enough, but in an efficient and smart way; Need a coating that can withstand the elements.

    The race is on!
    Beginning in the famous Port of Rotterdam, Team Rotterdam was one of 19 boats sailing towards the coast of England that evening. The teams will cross the finish line in Amsterdam on April 10.

    Though it was tempting to continue along on their adventure, our colleagues parted ways with the team after a couple hours. We’ll be following the team’s progress throughout the week on social media, and wish them the best!

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