The entrance hall in Bamar’s headquarters makes a very clear statement about the company’s ambitions. It is dominated by a replica of the largest jib furler ever constructed for the largest sloop currently afloat, the 75m Mirabella V.
“It is identical to the three jib furlers we designed, built and fitted aboard Mirabella V,” explains Bamar’s sales manager Francesco Tamburini. Now part of the Soluzioni Meccaniche Group, the brand was launched in 1977 by Vladimiro Zattini from a small workshop in Forlì, one of the great hubs of the Italian yachting sector.
Zattini’s designs quickly made their mark in the hardware segment with some very ingenious solutions indeed. Bamar’s first vertical external mainsail furler was followed by an internal version. “Forty years ago, furling a mainsail or any sail was considered sacrilege by purists,” continues Tamburini. “Today though, in-mast or in-boom mainsail furlers and foresail furlers are pretty much standard on any modern cruising yacht”. Bamar’s foresail furlers are used extensively in the racing world, starting with the Mini 6.50. “Then we go all the way up to the IMOCA ones we developed with Andrea Mura. With manual racing furlers, the aim is to keep them as strong and as light as possible but you can only do that to a certain extent,” he adds. However, with motorised furlers, there is ample room for manoeuvre and Bamar’s technicians have pushed the company’s signature research and innovation to exciting new heights. Their focus on motorisation systems has seen their products transition from using simple gear motors to planetary gear motors”. “Traditional gear motors comprise a worm screw and a spur gear fitted on perpendicular shafts. But planetary gear motors are made up of a specific arrangement of gears and the input and output shafts are coaxial which makes them more compact. Most importantly of all, they use very little power so are very efficient. But we didn’t stop there. In partnership with a company we have been working with for years, we also developed high performance compact permanent magnet motor”.
The end result is light, powerful compact electric furlers that have been adopted by the world’s leading yards. Another Bamar signature is that all of the metal components in its furlers, be they Ergal, stainless steel, titanium, etc., are machined from a solid block. “This means each individual component and product has superb mechanical qualities so we are able to minimise bulk and give our clients unique products. We are the only company in the world that does this for jib furlers”.
This engineering ingenuity has won Bamar a client portfolio that numbers many of the leading international yards and the most exciting new yacht designs of recent years. Including that of Sailing Yacht A. “Working on Mirabella V gave us the experience to go on to the 142m developed by Philippe Stark. Aside from the in-boom furlers for the three mainsails, we also made the mainsheet travellers, the ram cylinders for the boom movement, the captive winches and the vangs. At seven metres long, they are the largest vangs in the world, in fact”.
Dimensions aside, Mirabella V and Sailing Yacht A both demonstrate the scope of Bamar’s potential which spans the spectrum from electric and hydraulic furling systems to sail control systems with a supply chain is entirely Italian. “We do virtually everything in-house. Therefore, we have enormous flexibility when it comes to meeting very diverse requirements. For instance, on the Swan 78, there was very little space forward for the jib furler but we managed to fit it in anyway by modifying the shape of its cylinder”.
Research lies at the core of this level of customisation. “Bamar has always been about innovation,” concludes Francesco Tamburini. “We are at the Design Awards at the Amsterdam METS every single year with something new. We won once in 2004 and were nominated in 2019. We didn’t win on that occasion but our manual mainsail furler that can be converted to electric got a special mention from the jury. They praised its excellent attention to detail. That is what sets us apart. Aside from delivering systems that work, we create objects that I would describe as genuine sculptures”.