Vendée Globe: A well-tuned Renault 4
Published on November 20th, 2020
For the 2016-17 Vendée Globe, of the 29 IMOCA 60s, six new prototypes had been fitted with foil appendages and one older boat modified to include them. While the foils had limitations at close wind angles, their advantage at broader angles now finds 18 of the 33 skippers in the 2020-21 edition on foils.
There are several iterations of the foiling IMOCA now competing round the world. There are five boats from the previous edition that were designed with foils, there are five boats that have been modified to accommodate them, and there are eight boats launched in 2018-20 to represent the latest foil thinking.
When conditions are right, the foiling boats can post speeds over three knots faster than their daggerboard brethren, which is what makes 61-year-old Jean Le Cam’s performance so remarkable on his 2007 straight board boat.
“As to the foiling boats getting a chance to stretch their lead, I have always said since before the start that I am in the Renault 4 category, not in the Ferrari one,” said Le Cam. “But I realize that the little R4 is very well tuned!”
Well-tuned indeed as Le Cam, who is competing in his fifth Vendée Globe race, held the lead during the first week and remains the only daggerboard boat in the top ten. With surgery which gave the boat more volume in the bow, Le Cam and Swiss navigator Bernard Stamm proved the boat still had game by winning the Barcelona World Race 2014-15.
Paulo Pernão of Interesting Sailboats provides more history on Le Cam’s IMOCA 60:
The boat, which he has owned since 2015 and is now called “Yes we Cam!” was launched in 2007, the design a collaboration between Farr Yacht Design and Michel Desjoyeaux.
At the time it was called Foncia and that boat would win the 2007 Transat Jacques Favre, the 2008-09 Vendée Globe, and the 2014-15 Barcelona World Race, among other races while changing its name.
After being Foncia it changed the name to Telefónica Movistar, then Mapfre, then Maître Coq, Mare, Cheminées Poujoulat, Finistère Mer Vent, Corum L’Épargne before being named “Yes we Cam!”
It was the boat on which Beyou made the 2012-13 Vendée Globe (abandon) and where Le Cam made the previous Vendée, finishing in 6th place. I doubt that he can make it 6th on this one due to the large number of faster boats with modern foils, unless many of them break.
Anyway a fast boat with a big history and one that can be very efficient in IRC races with a class for IMOCAs, because it is not only fast but also more versatile than the current faster boats, sailing better upwind and with lighter winds – an interesting sailboat.
The Vendée Globe is the only sailing race round the world that’s solo, non-stop, and without assistance, and it was all systems go for the 9th edition on November 8. Beginning in 1989 with 13 entries, the start line in 2020 had 33 skippers taking 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.
Nov. 16, 2020 – Nicolas TROUSSEL, CORUM L’EPARGNE – dismasted
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