Turbocharging a round the world racer

Published on November 28th, 2023

Britain’s Pip Hare explains for Yachting World how she’s turbocharged her IMOCA 60 Medallia ahead of next year’s Vendée Globe, the ultimate race for any singlehanded offshore sailor

Ahead of me, the bow of Medallia is pointing at the sky. This is not poetic license; I am actually looking upwards at my bowsprit as it rises up, 50ft in front of me and some 3m higher than I am. In that split second, I can barely compute what is happening.

My brain just starts to grasp the situation when Medallia levels out and shoots forwards. I watch the speed log flick from 26 knots to 27, 28, 29 knots. The acceleration is actually insane. The foils are humming. Occasionally the windward foil grazes the waves and sprays me with a wall of water. Medallia, newly refitted and modified, is just one hour into our first commissioning sail and I have no doubts that we have indeed turbocharged our IMOCA 60.

The IMOCA class is in the midst of a boom. There are now over 50 international teams running these 60ft ocean racing beasts. The Vendée Globe has expanded its entry list to 40 candidates for the next edition in 2024 while The Ocean Race has been reborn as a crewed IMOCA event, with teams smashing the 24-hour monohull record. – Full report

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