Analyzing the new IMOCA designs
Published on November 11th, 2020
Yachting historian Jacques Taglang and yacht designer Francois Chevalier have analyze the new designs competing in the 33-boat Vendée Globe 2020-21:
Eight new IMOCA, four architects, silhouettes that look alike, but for the sections, there’s nothing similar!
What about the fact that four talented designers have created such very various racers? It recalls the first four monohulls of the 2021 America’s Cup, so different, in spite of a rule that seemed restricted.
The last edition of the Vendée Globe in 2016 demonstrated that foils were the future. For the developers, the pure foil options, and hulls lightened by the foils, steered the prime designers to choose opposing alternatives.
Focusing on what each one explains, the approach of their reflection led them to reach innovative solutions. What is sure is that the winner will be proved right, and will set an original standard, unless the gauge evolves towards more hovering.
It’s still a bit early to know which one of the four brand-new IMOCA featured here is the fastest… here’s the assessment:
L’Occitane en Provence, designed by Sam Manuard
For a first IMOCA, such a revolution couldn’t have been expected. Nevertheless, Sam Manuard isn’t the kind of person to make a controversy. As an autodidact, he loves his job and design, building and sailing as much as he does.
His Mini years led him to create in a very free rule, and the Class40 environment granted him confidence. Fourteen years that Sam is enjoying himself. The switch to IMOCA is the outcome of his successes. Sam didn’t give up, he watched IMOCA videos for hours in the rough sea, until he discovered the shape that could sail through without so many crashes and sprays.
The quest for pure speed isn’t the goal if the boat regularly plunges into the wave. Consequently, a cigar, which relies on its foils for rigidity…
• Armel TRIPON, L’Occitane en Provence, Sam Manuard, 2020
Corum L’Epargne, designed by Juan Kouyoumdjian
Juan K really loves to find the rule hole, it keeps him happy! But this rule is finally quite crooked… Compiled by the sailors and the designers who win, it hasn’t ceased to evolve, to avoid any excess and to ensure a minimum of safety, while preserving costs down.
The fin keel and the mast are now standard, and the rollover tests, with the righting moment at small angles, are pushing the designers to temper their desires. Juan searched, tweaked the models, tried the impossible. Sometime, he developed unlikely shapes to cement his love of sturdiness. By creating a significant volume on the sides, he diverts the concern and manages to do light and rigid, the foils will do the job…
• Sébastien SIMON, Arkea-Paprec, Juan Kouyoumdjian, 2019
• Nicolas TROUSSEL, Corum savings, Juan Kouyoumdjian, 2020
Hugo Boss, designed by VPLP
At VPLP, Marc (Van Peteghem) is in charge of the current business, cruise series and future projects, sailing cargoes and other vessels of the days to come. Vincent (Lauriot Prévost), for his part, focuses on racing.
He left for Vannes a long time ago to enjoy the seaside, the Port de l’Arsenal (Paris) didn’t inspire him. But the fight has overtaken him, and you always have to win! Hugo Boss is the only plan somewhat caricatured, to better illustrate the differences; in truth, it’s rather more curved, Vincent notices it, yet admits that it’s the architectural side.
The lateral back opening is designed to slide, to avoid hitting. As a result, the waterline is narrow, little wetted surface in light weather, improbable, in a round-the-world race. It must be said that the skipper is familiar with the way, and will sail to win…
• Alex THOMSON, Hugo Boss, VPLP, 2019
• Jérémie BEYOU, Charal, VPLP, 2018
• Kojiro SHIRAISHI, DMG Mori, VPLP, 2019
Apivia, designed by Guillaume Verdier
It’s not easy to reach Guillaume Verdier, always on the other end of the planet, and on holidays, of course. Inventor of the AC75 and its concept, a hydrofoil monohull, without keel, with ballast in the foils, he works for the Cup defense. Usually, for the IMOCA, he gave his opinion at VPLP, and the team won everything it wanted.
For Apivia, Guillaume started from a blank sheet of paper. With his friend Benjamin Muyl, they went around the constraints, known and measured by the optical fibers, and based themselves on the mast’s resistance to evaluate the limits of the boat’s righting moment, trying to reduce its ballast and weight. An original, but logical process, where the hull has to be perfect at small angles of heels, by skimming the waves…
• Charlie DALIN, Apivia, Verdier, 2019
• Thomas RUYANT, LinkedOut, Verdier, 2019
The Vendée Globe is the only sailing race round the world that’s solo, non-stop, and without assistance, and it is all systems go for the 9th edition on November 8, 2020. Beginning in 1989 with 13 entries, the start line this year has 33 skippers set to take off from Les Sables d’Olonne, France.
The development of the IMOCA Class toward foiling will see these boats hurl themselves around the world, teetering on carbon skates through inhospitable regions, chasing the record set in 2016-17 by Armel le Cléac’h of 74:03:35:46.
1989-90: 13 boats at the start
1992-93: 15 boats
1996-97: 15 boats
2000-01: 24 boats
2004-05: 20 boats
2008-2009: 30 boats
2012-2013: 20 boats
2016-2017: 29 boats
2020-2021: 33 boats
Fabrice AMEDEO: NEWREST – ART & FENÊTRES
Romain ATTANASIO: PURE – BEST WESTERN
Alexia BARRIER: TSE – 4MYPLANET
Yannick BESTAVEN: MAÎTRE COQ IV
Jérémie BEYOU: CHARAL
Arnaud BOISSIÈRES: LA MIE CÂLINE – ARTISANS ARTIPÔLE
Louis BURTON: BUREAU VALLÉE 2
Didac COSTA: ONE PLANET ONE OCEAN
Manuel COUSIN: GROUPE SÉTIN
Clarisse CREMER: BANQUE POPULAIRE X
Charlie DALIN: APIVIA
Samantha DAVIES: INITIATIVES-CŒUR
Sébastien DESTREMAU: MERCI
Benjamin DUTREUX: OMIA – WATER FAMILY
Kevin ESCOFFIER: PRB
Clément GIRAUD: COMPAGNIE DU LIT / JILITI
Pip HARE: MEDALLIA
Boris HERRMANN: SEA EXPLORER – YACHT CLUB DE MONACO
Ari HUUSELA: STARK
Isabelle JOSCHKE: MACSF
Jean LE CAM: YES WE CAM !
Stéphane LE DIRAISON: TIME FOR OCEANS
Miranda MERRON: CAMPAGNE DE FRANCE
Giancarlo PEDOTE: PRYSMIAN GROUP
Alan ROURA: LA FABRIQUE
Thomas RUYANT: LINKEDOUT
Damien SEGUIN: GROUPE APICIL
Kojiro SHIRAISHI: DMG MORI
Sébastien SIMON: ARKEA – PAPREC
Maxime SOREL: V AND B – MAYENNE
Alex THOMSON: HUGO BOSS
Armel TRIPON: L’OCCITANE EN PROVENCE
Nicolas TROUSSEL: CORUM L’ÉPARGNE
Source: Vendée Globe