Comanche: Designer notes

Published on December 23rd, 2014

Designers Guillaume Verdier and VPLP Architects provide notes on the 100-foot Comanche…

Launched in September 2014, Comanche resulted from the studies realised on the Macif and Banque Populaire IMOCA 60 monohulls, who finished first and second in the 2012 Vendée Globe.

What distinguishes her from her 100-foot competitors, such as Wild Oats or Perpetual Loyal, is her great beam, her high mast which is placed very far aft, and her boom perpendicular to the transom.

Comanche is a virtually narrow boat; she is made to sail heeled thanks to the appendages’ plan. As such, she enjoys a high fineness ratio sail plan. Inside, the structure is optimized to make the boat more resistant to damage. The cockpit was designed bearing in mind manual manoeuvres to gain weight.

Guillaume Verdier: “Comanche is not just an object, it is the result of a great collaboration with skipper Ken Read, the Tim Hacket / Casey Smith team, and the boat builder Brandon Linton. We all enjoyed working on this project. It was a positive and constructive collaboration: every mistake or difficulty was an opportunity to bounce back and find new ideas.”

Vincent Lauriot-Prévost: “After the IMOCAs, this was our first exercise in the 100 footer monohull category. As light as possible, as strong as possible, such was the equation we shared with Guillaume Verdier. Her very powerful hull, her maximum draught to enter most marinas, her low freeboard height and side water ballasts make her the most powerful ship in the 100 footer fleet.”

During the Solas Big Boat Challenge, on December 9th in Sydney Harbour, Comanche’s first confrontation with her Sydney Hobart contestants revealed all the boat’s potential in light conditions.

Ken Read, the skipper, after the Solas: “We were very pleased with how the boat went upwind, we could not have been happier with how Comanche went. She was designed to do exactly the opposite of what we had today. This boat is a beast. Do we know how it will handle (the tough conditions off the New South Wales coast and Bass Strait), will it stay in one piece? We have no idea.”

Jim Clark, the boat’s owner, will present Comanche at the start of the Sydney Hobart on December 26th. Ken Read, the skipper, and his 28 crew members will aim for line honours for this boat who’s more dedicated to records and speed. After the Sydney Hobart, Comanche should tackle the crewed Transatlantic Record, currently held by Mari Cha IV.

Shipyard: Hodgdon Yachts, Maine, USA
Length: 30.45 m
Approx. Beam: 8 m
Draught: 6.80 m
Clearance: 47 m
Upwind sail area: 760 m2
Downwind sail area: 1100 m2
Displacement: under 30 tonnes

Design – Collaboration: Guillaume Verdier & VPLP
Guillaume Verdier Architecture Navale: Romaric Neyhousser / Benjamin Muyl / Hervé Penfornis and Guillaume Verdier
VPLP Design: Philibert Chesnay / Xavier Guilbaud / Simon Watin / Daniele Capua and Vincent Lauriot Prevost
Skipper: Ken Read, assisted by Casey Smith and Tony mutter
Boat’s Owner : Jim Clark

Associated to project
Len Imas assisted by Romain Garo – computational fluid dynamics (CFD)
Pure Office – double structure check
Sail designers, managed by JB Braun
Jamie France and Thia Win – Daggerboard systems
Gianni Cariboni engineering office – hydraulics
Refraschini engineering office – Daggerboards, keel and bulb
Southern Spars engineering office
Jon Williams – Winches
Hasso Hoffmeister – Germanisher Lloyd check
Martin Prince – Model basin.

Additional information

Photos by George Bekris

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