Five new IMOCA 60’s launched

5 Sep

There have been five new IMOCA 60 yachts launched in the last six weeks with two others currently being built and soon to be launched. To say that the IMOCA class is thriving is an understatement. Each year I go to the start of the vendee globe in France and I marvel at how space-age the boats are and think to myself that it would be impossible to improve upon them. Then fours years later I return and the new generation of boats makes the four year old designs look quite primitive. The development in design and innovation is really that much and quite extraordinary. 

The boats recently launched include the new Hugo Boss for Alex Thomson. This is by far the most radical boat with the cockpit entirely covered by a solid coach roof. The other boats are all quite similar and that’s because, with the exception of Arkea-Paprec which was designed by Juan Kouyoumdjian, the rest are designed by VPLP and Guillaume Verdier who have collaborated so much in the past they might as well be the same design team. All the boats are equally futuristic with the most distinctive thing about each being the massive foils. It’s clear that this is where most of the attention has been paid, in fact one designer was quoted as saying that they are not really paying as much attention to the hull shape as in the past because they expect the hull to be out of the water for much of the time. The hull engineering is very precise in an effort to keep the weight down. Lighter boats foil sooner and the quicker the skipper can get his boat up and onto the foils and stay there the better.

I am especially thrilled to see my friend Kojiro Shiraishi launch his brand new 60 from the same molds as Charel, the IMOCA 60 built for crack French sailor Jérémie Beyou. I was involved in the 2002/03 Around Alone race and Koji was there racing his 40 foot sloop. He has since become a household name in Japan and arrived at the start of the last Vendee with a second generation IMOCA 60. Unfortunately he was dismasted and unable to finish. Luckily he was able to find a new sponsor and is preparing for the next vendee with a brand spanking new boat.

The next few months is going to be very interesting watching how these new boats do against each other. The first real test with be the double-handed Transat Jacques Vabre that starts on October 27.

To see what I mean about foiling these boats take a look at this incredible footage of Hugo Boss here

Below – in order of launch – are the new boats.

Arkea-Paprec for Sébastien Simon

Apivia for Chalie Dalin

Hugo Boss for Alex Thomson

DMG Mori for Kojiro Shiraishi

Advens for cybersecurity for Thomas Ruyant 

This article was syndicated from Great Circle Sails Blog


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