Please select your home edition
Edition
Selden

RS and Seldén working together: Interview with Alex Newton-Southon and Steve Norbury

by Mark Jardine 23 Nov 2017 12:00 GMT 23 November 2017
RS Aero spars at Selden © Mark Jardine / YachtsandYachting.com

We spoke to Steve Norbury of Seldén Mast, and Alex Newton-Southon of RS Sailing, about how they work together on the design and manufacture of a variety of components for the RS range of dinghies.

Mark Jardine: Seldén have made a considerable investment in manufacturing technology to help with the automation of processes. What is the biggest machine you've brought into the factory?

Steve Norbury: The biggest single investment so far is a CNC machine which is incredibly efficient at drilling, routering and shaping aluminium profiles. A lot of what we're doing with RS is creating complete kits of parts and a lot of the rotomolded boats depend on aluminium extrusions and beams, so getting that process to be efficient and accurate means we can deliver a better product and stay on time with our deliveries.

Mark: RS Sailing are a creator of one-design boats, where you need every single boat to be identical. What it does it mean to you when a partner invests in this kind of technology, ensuring they are producing the same piece of kit time and time again?

Alex Newton-Southon: It's incredibly important to make sure that RS are dealing with the right partners and Seldén Mast have been a fantastic partner for the entire 25-year history of the company. Having this investment with CNC machines and other items is hugely important as making sure that purchased products are replicated accurately time and time again is paramount. Seldén now provides us with a one-stop shop; we can get the masts, the hardware, other components and the foils all in one place. All of that is reliably delivered to our production facility so working with Seldén is fantastic.

Mark: Alex, you mentioned foils there, and I think that's an area that many people won't be aware of; Seldén are producing many rudders and daggerboards. Steve, when did foil production start at Seldén?

Steve: We started around eight years ago. It's an aluminium extruded product, which very much suits our skill-set, together with the injection-moulded rudder blade. The whole concept was to give RS a very consistent product, one which is easy to produce and transport, and was also modular. We started off fitting it to the RS Tera, then we rolled that out through the Feva, Quba and now the new boats. By giving them this modular system, it means they can fit it to their new boats as they become available. It reduces the number of spares and inventory they need, allowing more on-time deliveries.

Alex: By working with Seldén we have access to the fantastic ability of their technical and design department. At RS we have very strong ideas of how we want to create boats, and with their support it's not just the foil blades, but the stocks are highly indicative of how they work. The whole package is highly engineered, and the system is used across the Tera, the Neo, the Quba, the Feva, the Cat 16; with stocks purely designed for those boats to maximise their usage.

Mark: When it comes to designing new RS boats, are Seldén an integral part of your design process?

Alex: Absolutely. It's incredibly important to be working with the right partners to create our boats. From our point of view, we have a vision of what we want and Seldén help us to create that.

Mark: I remember coming to the opening of the Seldén factory in December 2004 and seeing the huge shop-floor, and there being a lot of space to build into, but this is now filled with activity. Growing with a partner like RS must be superb for your continued expansion.

Steve: It's fantastic working with a customer like RS as, like Alex said, they are really driven and really focused on delivering innovative new products. They have so many ideas on how to encourage people into sailing. Our part is to turn those ideas into products which we can supply them, driving the sales of that boat forwards. It's vitally important for us to be involved at that level so that we can create those products.

Alex: I feel we challenge Seldén during the design process, and there are times when I think they benefit from how we are challenging them from a production point-of-view, so it's not a one-way street here. We challenge each other, and I think we both gain out of it.

Mark: It's good to see two really great brands working together to bring the sport of sailing, the design process and production technology, along further. Thank you for your time.

Steve and Alex: Thanks very much.

Find out more at www.rssailing.com and www.seldenmast.co.uk

Related Articles

Seldén sponsored sailors leave Falmouth
For the start of the 2018 Golden Globe Race Last week, on the 14th June Seldén sponsored sailors, Susie Goodall and Antoine Cousot, along with the rest of the 19 strong fleet of intrepid adventurers departed Falmouth to join the start of the 2018 Golden Globe Race. Posted on 19 Jun
The Selden SailJuice Winter Series
We speak to founder Andy Rice We spoke to Andy Rice, the founder of the Selden SailJuice Winter Series, about how the series started in the first place, the growth that has taken place over the last ten years, and what plans are in place for the 2018/19 series. Posted on 9 May
Campaign against Single Use Plastic Bottles
Supported by Seldén Dinghy Sponsorship In 2018, Seldén Mast Ltd will be supporting more dinghy classes and more sailors than ever before and at the same time will be assisting in the fight against single use plastic bottles. Posted on 1 May
Dinghy Spars Choice and Care Guide
FREE with all Seldén Dinghy Spars Seldén Masts Ltd is delighted to announce that all their after-market dinghy masts will now include a FREE guide on dinghy spar choice and care. Posted on 5 Apr
Seldén sponsor the SailJuice Winter Series
Announcement made at the RYA Dinghy Show Seldén Mast was handed over the sponsorship baton from GJW Direct, who have been title sponsors for six consecutive years, at the recent RYA Dinghy Show following the current series' prize giving. Posted on 7 Mar
Turn on the Turbo with Seldén
Affordable furling for Code Zero & Asymmetric Spinnakers New technology, as with high fashion, is usually introduced at the top end of the market and initially adopted by trailblazers before elements gradually filter down to the mass market. The is true for the introduction of products in the marine industry. Posted on 6 Mar
Seldén supplies carbon mast for revamped Maiden
Custom laminate with very specific properties required Seldén Masts Ltd is delighted to announce that they have been asked to supply the new carbon mast and boom for Tracy Edwards' renowned round the world race yacht Maiden. Posted on 26 Feb
Next generation Seldén Furlex Electric
The world's biggest selling jib furling system Seldén Mast is delighted to announce that they are launching the next generation of the Furlex Electric, the most recent addition to their iconic Furlex product range. Posted on 21 Feb
Seldén win Gold in Miami
Team Seldén-sponsored 470 team use Cumulus and Ultima sections Team Seldén-sponsored sailor Luke Patience and his crew, Chris Grube, have won the Men's 470 Gold at the World Cup in Miami. Posted on 29 Jan
Interview with Seldén sponsored Susie Goodall
The only female participant in the Golden Globe Race 2018 heralds the 50th anniversary of Sir Robin Knox-Johnston's historic non-stop solo circumnavigation on his 32-foot yacht Suhaili. 2018 also sees the start of the Golden Globe Race to celebrate Knox-Johnsons' epic adventure. Posted on 9 Jan