Hall Spars marks 25th with new facility - Soundings Online

Hall Spars marks 25th with new facility

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New plant in Bristol, R.I., is twice the size of the old one and houses two autoclaves

New plant in Bristol, R.I., is twice the size of the old one and houses two autoclaves

Hall Spars & Rigging in 2002 constructed the largest carbon-fiber mast the company had ever produced — 180 feet in length. In all, the mast took a year-and-a-half to design and build.

With its construction of larger spars increasing, company founder Eric Hall and a team of other executives determined that their manufacturing center was too small. They decided to build a new plant, one double in size, and planned to have it done in time for the company’s 25th anniversary in 2005.

And that’s exactly what they did. On June 17, Hall celebrated its silver anniversary and officially opened its new U.S. manufacturing center, located in Bristol, R.I. Nearly 350 people showed up for the event.

“It’s been full of good feelings, memories,” Hall says of the celebration day. “I’m feeling pretty lucky and proud. This is a celebration both of our anniversary and of our wonderful facility.”

The new manufacturing plant occupies 77,000 square feet and houses two autoclaves, devices that apply heat and pressure for curing the carbon-fiber spars. The larger autoclave — one of the largest owned by any spar maker in the world — measures more than 150 feet in length and six feet in diameter, and is used to cure America’s Cup masts and superyacht spars. The smaller autoclave, nearly 65 feet long, with a diameter of four feet, is used for curing spinnaker poles and parts.

“A few years ago, we were turning away business,” Hall, who is 61, says. “We wondered why we couldn’t sell more spars. We wondered why we couldn’t make more. We just didn’t have the room to make long pieces. This new facility is perfect for us. By the end of this year, I think we’ll see a nice increase in sales in comparison to previous years.”

Hall carbon spars are built for production yachts including models by Beneteau, Farr and Swan. Custom carbon spars are built for boats more than 35 feet long, from America’s Cup yachts to Grand-Prix racers. Aluminum masts are made for customers like J/Boats, Sabre and Pearson Composites. Hall also assembles standing and running rigging packages for its mast projects.

Although the new plant opened for business in December, Hall says, the official celebration was delayed until this summer because of the confidential nature of projects being worked on over the winter.

Hall Spars & Rigging was founded in Bristol in 1980 by Eric Hall and Phil Garland. In 1992, Hall became the first spar maker to use an aerospace-quality autoclave in the curing of carbon parts in its own facility, according to information on the company’s Web site, www.hallspars.com.

In 2001, Hall expanded its operation to include a manufacturing center in Holland. That facility houses an autoclave more than 130 feet long.

In reflection over Hall Spars & Rigging’s quarter-century doing business, Hall looks forward to continuing the company’s dedication to producing quality masts and equipment.

“We’re making strides in our manufacturing capabilities and are becoming more and more proficient in how we make our products,” he says. “We know what we need to do and are looking forward to getting there.”