Living , Modern

Eric

Hall

1943

A pioneer in the use of carbon, Eric Hall has been at the forefront in the development of innovative materials and systems in spars and rigging. His company, Hall Spars, had many milestone achievements in the racing scene over their four decades, with one of their biggest landmark achievements coming in 2003 when Alinghi, rigged by Hall Spars, won the America’s Cup. Only two years later they delivered their first rig to the Volvo Ocean Race team Pirates of the Caribbean skippered by sailing legend Paul Cayard. They were also the supplier for many one design classes, namely the hugely popular Swan 45 Class, as well as the Swan 42, J111 and J122.

Technical Achievements:

  • Pre-Career
    • Model building
      • Sail: made dozens
      • Power: high speed air prop driven hydroplanes.
  • 1957-1961: Deerfield Academy
    • Hydrofoil boats:
      • Worked vacations in the shop at Bill Carl’s Dynamic Developments Inc. in Babylon NY.
      • Tested small hydrofoil runabouts
      • Assisted Grumman team installing hydrofoils on P.K. Wrigley’s runabout on Lake Geneva WI.
  • 1961-1966: University of Michigan
    • Degrees: Bachelor of Science
      • Naval Architecture
      • Aeronautical Engineering
  • 1965: Six-month sabbatical from Michigan
    • Abeking & Rasmussen’s engineering Office
      • Detail design of power and sail yacht layouts and structures
  • 1966-69: Grumman 
    • Apollo Applications: Post Apollo Program studies (some would make great subjects for Science Fiction!)
    • EA6B Counter Measures Aircraft: designed jet inlet duct
    • F14: Boron composite Stabilizer design team
      • Designed the complex connection of the multi-layer Boron composite skin to the titanium “picture frame” that in turn was connected to the stabilizer’s titanium frame
  • 1968 – 1972 (’68-’69 moonlighting): Chance & Co. 
    • Projects:
      • Rig Deck Plan Equation
      • Rig Deck Plan Chancegger
      • Rig and Deck Plan Cup Defender Intrepid
        • Designed first-ever boron/carbon composite pole
        • Designed Beryllium mast skins that reduced upper spar weight and lowered the mast c.g. to minimum Rule height
  • 1972-1975: Union Masts
    • Bremen Germany (owned by Lowell North, Eckart Wagner and German sailmaker Hans Beilken)
      • Supplied Admirals’ Cup-winning rig (Rubin, German AC winning team)
      • One Ton Cup: Ydra
      • Half Ton Cup:
      • Quarter Ton Cup. Timschal
  • 1975-1980: Schaefer Marine
    • Three patents:
      • Spreader Bar tang (now universal use)
      • Internal Tang for Rod rigging
        • Design process in concert with Navtec engineer Steve Loutrel resulting in the ubiquitous stem ball end fitting now used everywhere.
      • Gooseneck for Dinghy booms (505 World Champion)
  • 1980-2016: Hall Spars    
    • Founded Hall Spars in June 1980
    • Grew it to $30M company on three continents
    • Authored three patents and co-authored a fourth on products regularly on Hall masts. patents have run out).
    • Other work resulted in today’s Hall Spars
      • Mastheads
      • Tangs
      • Spreaders, fittings
      • Goosenecks
      • Hydraulic mast steps
      • QuikVang: Solid boom vang (a product that continues to sell 30 years after introduction at the Newport Show in 1986)
        • My design work included drawings on the first three sizes including custom designing springs not available on the market.
      • QuikTrip Spinnaker pole end fitting systems (ditto)
      • V-booms:
        • Introduced in 2001 after personally building one for my 30-footer, making prototype tooling and parts, designs from which are used on V booms of all sizes today:
          • Inside tray
          • Inboard end
          • Styling
        • Several sparmakers continue to sell V-Booms worldwide
      • AutoLocks (2006): Patented automatic halyard locks, a true one of a kind product line in yachting industry
      • 2006: Built the first Omer Wingsail rig designed by Ilan Gonen
      • SCR Carbon Rigging (2008): From 2005 until its intro in 2008, I developed Hall Spars’ solid carbon product.
        • Convinced the owner of a local machine shop of the value of the invention who then provided 100% of all the test fittings, hand slinging equipment, and personal time to join me “under the radar” nights, early mornings and weekends on the project.
        • Designed and tested the basic end fitting system
        • Authored the US Patent that covered this product.
        • Personally invested a six-figure sum, matched by the company to put Hall Spars into the carbon rigging business.
        • Oversaw the design and implementation of the round rigging manufacturing system
      • Airfoil Rigging
        • Designed the airfoil profile and molding system
        • Commissioned a University of Michigan technical paper on CFD studies of the airfoil product (honorary byline)
        • Created format and oversaw verification of Michigan’s CFD studies at the University of Auckland Twisted Flow Wind Tunnel
        • Germanischer Lloyd Carbon Fiber Rigging Type Approval for both round and airfoil carbon rigging
          • Wrote Type Approval Proposals
          • Designed tests to GL guidelines
          • Oversaw static and dynamic tests at the University of Maine
        • From 2008 to 2016 Hall Spars booked $8M in carbon rigging sales.
      • Managing Carbon fiber Technologies
        • My career at Grumman inspired my bringing autoclave composite curing to Hall
        • From the outset in 1980, my vision was to have advanced composite capability
        • In 1984 we brought in wet layup carbon technology to make spinnaker poles for Maxi Boomerang and J Class yacht Endeavour
        • In 1989, upgraded our technology to oven cured prepreg technology, first under vacuum pressure in a heated oven
        • In 1992 installed a 60 ft autoclave, the first in the Marine Industry to do so.
      • Building state of the art factories, perfecting processes
        • After eight years in business, I ordered the construction of our first state of the art factory in 1988
        • In the early 90’s we added a 3500 ft2 addition to house our advanced composite carbon operation
        • In 2004 we built a new 90, 000 ft2 state of the art facility in Bristol, adding an even longer 150 ft autoclave
      • Growth through Acquisition:
        • Holland:
          • At the 2001 Duesseldorf Boat Show, knowing a principal of independently owned Proctor Spars, Holland, I proposed acquisition of Proctor.
          • By the end of March, the acquisition – now Hall BV – was complete.
          • That year, we built our next state of the art factory in Holland, adding a new 146 ft autoclave, the largest anywhere at the time.
          • We immediately brought in Hall Carbon Technology and resulting in a large client list
        • New Zealand
          • In the mid 2000’s another opportunity presented itself: merger with an Argentinian low-cost mast builder using carbon mast building techniques similar to ours
          • After months of long negotiations in 2007, we couldn’t agree on terms and the deal died.
          • Within minutes of the deal breakdown, I called Murray Jones Alinghi’s spar manager and part owner of small Auckland based spar shop, Matrix Masts, complete with small but long autoclave.
          • He agreed to the idea and later that fall Hall NZ was created after another fast track Due Diligence to Closing that took one week.
        • Result: after acquiring these two companies, Hall’s revenues tripled from $10M in 2000 to $38M in 2009.
  • 2017-Present: Alphalock Systems LLC
    • Created and patented brand-new magnet-based technology that replaced systems of springs and latches with far longer product life.
    • After learning SolidWorks solid modeling design software designed all Alphalock products including:
      • Custom Super Yacht Headboard and Square Top Mainsail locks
      • Custom and standard headsail and boom reefing locks of all sizes
  • Technical Articles:
    • During my career from time to time I wrote articles for Sail, Yacht Racing, Yachting World, Seahorse and others.
    • America’s Cup Seahorse articles:
      • Four-part series on America’s Cup Rigs 1930-Present
      • Article on the new America’s Cup Class
      • Article on the NYYC Team
  • Contribution: Boards of Directors:
    • 1970s IOR Rig Advisory Committee
    • 1980s: Sail America
    • Herreshoff Marine Museum/America’s Cup Hall of Fame:
      • 2004-2011
      • 2019-present

SAILING ACHIEVEMENTS

  • 1955:
    • Stavey Cup, Huntington Yacht Club, Single handed
    • 1st Labor Day (crew), Thistle Class Huntington, Northport, Centerport Tri-Club
  • 1956:
    • 3rd Championship Division (won by John Marshall) Long Island Sound (LIS) Midget Championships.
    • 1st (crew) Thistle Class, Tri-Club Summer Series
  • 1957:
    • 1st (crew) Thistle Class, Tri-Club Summer Series
    • 1st (crew) Thistle Class (separate scoring) Summer Series
  • 1958:
    • 1st Consolation Division (LIS) Midget Championships.
  • 1959-1962:
    • Various first places (crew) Thistle Class local racing
  • 1961-1963:
    • University of Michigan Sailing Team
  • 1961-62:
    • Crew for Timmie (Schneider) Larr, numerous 1st
  • 1962-1963:
    • A Division skipper, various wins
  • 1963:
    • S&S 46 Cyane (no wins)
    • Transatlantic Race
    • Fastnet Race
    • Cowes Week
  • 1962-1964:
    • Finn Olympic Class; qualified for US Olympic Semi Final Trials.
  • 1964:
    • 1st (crew) Flying Dutchman National Junior Champion
  • 1964-1971:
    • Various local and regional first places (crew) Flying Dutchman
  • 1971:
    • National Champion (crew) Flying Dutchman
  • 1972-1975:
    • Various local and international regattas (crew), offshore yachts Northern Germany
  • 1980:
    • 1st (crew) Flying Dutchman US pre- Olympic Regatta Newport
  • 1986:
    • 1st (crew) Elusive NYYC Astor Cup Yacht, plus other first places that year
  • 1987-1988:
    • 1st (crew) Dragon Fire, Block Island Race and Annapolis Newport Race plus other first places in NYYC and other club events
  • 1987:
    • Formula 40 Nantucket Boat Basin (crew), various regional wins.
  • 1990-1996:
    • catamaran Hall Spars (crew), various local and regional wins.
  • 2001:
    • Ist Blackwing Sail for Pride (inaugural)
  • 2001-2006:
    • Blackwing, occasional firsts in local races.
  • 1995-2016:
    • Various firsts (crew) in international regattas in Cowes, Palma, Porto Cervo, St. Tropez
  • 2019:
    • 1st Blackwing, class, Herreshoff Classic Regatta
    • 1st Blackwing, class, IYRS Newport Classic Regatta
  • 2020:
    • Blackwing, first to finish, fleet, Leukemia Cup pursuit race (later withdrew after unknowingly breaking PHRF sail setting rule).
    • 1st Blackwing, class and fleet, Herreshoff Classic Regatta
    • 1st Blackwing, class and fleet, IYRS Newport Classic Regatta
    • 1st Blackwing, class and fleet, Sail for Hope Regatta

Offshore Experience (no wins)

  • Bermuda Race: 1958 Nimrod V, 1962 Astral, 1964 Nimrod VI, 1984 J41, 1986 Dragon Fire, 1992 Wonder
  • Halifax Race: 1959, Nimrod V
  • Block Island Race: 1960 Mustang
  • Transatlantic Race: 1963 Cyane
  • Channel Race: 1963 Cyane
  • Fastnet Race: 1963 Cyane

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