The New-Generation IMOCA 60s

Published on September 20th, 2022

The 60-foot IMOCA is the grand prix offshore class, and with a slew of these new foilers lining up for The Ocean Race 2022-23 and Véndee Globe 2024, the round-the-world racing scene is going gangbusters. Report by Ed Gorman for Sailing World:

New boats in the IMOCA class are coming out of the sheds thick and fast on the Atlantic coast of France, many of them at the old German World War II U-boat base at Lorient in Brittany. These days, in the fleet made famous by the solo nonstop Vendée Globe round-the-world race, there’s a lot of pizzazz on these occasions.

Boats no longer appear and then get quietly lowered into the water. In a class in which millions of euros are being spent on new designs, promotions and messaging, first launches are now previewed by the release of sophisticated video treatments, and the reveals take place with theatrical precision.

It is an astonishing fact in a world teetering on the edge of recession that no less than 14 new IMOCA yachts are hitting the water in the summer of 2022 and into the early months of next year as the arms race in solo offshore sailing gets underway in the buildup to the next Vendée Globe starting in November 2024.

The sorts of ­commercial partners that are paying for these vessels and their skippers range from French banks to alcohol retailers, meat-products ­suppliers, chocolate manufacturers, insurance companies and companies organizing behind charitable causes. International sponsors include software businesses, watchmakers, hotel chains and global-­logistics ­multinationals. Unlike the America’s Cup, there’s not a ­billionaire in sight. – Full report

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