Le Class40 Crédit Mutuel a remporté la Transat Jacques Vabre 2019

Class40: A thriving market for new and second-hand boats

2019 will be remembered for the arrival of the first Class40 scows and the victory of one of themCrédit Mutuel, in the Transat Jacques Vabre, The 2020 Class40 season will see the launch of at least two new 40-foot boats, while many others have changed their name. Tip & Shaft looks at this lively market and the programme that lies ahead for this season.

2019 was a very rich season in terms of boat design for Class40. Last year, we saw the launch of the first two Class40 scowsCrédit Mutuel, designed by David Raison for Ian Lipinski, the winner of the Transat Jacques Vabre, and Banque du Léman, Mach 40.4 designed by Sam Manuard, fourth in that transatlantic race with the Swiss duo, Valentin Gautier-Simon Koster. With some looking ahead to the 2022 Route du Rhum, and others the Globe40 (double-handed round the world race with eight legs, which starts in June 2021), this should boost the construction of new boats over the next two years.

So far, two Mach 40.4 boats are being built at JPS in La Trinité-sur-Mer: the first for Olivier Magré (to be launched at the end of March), which will be able to rely on  Corentin Douguet for her fine tuning (he will be racing in the Quebec-Saint-Malo on her), and the second, expected this summer, for another French skipper, whose name is expected to be revealed shortly. A third boat may be built later this year once again at JPS, but nothing has been signed as yet.

Other projects are being planned and will probably appear in 2021: the Australian Rupert Henrypre-registered for the Globe40 and won over by the performances of Yoann Richomme’s boat in the 2018 Route du Rhum, has ordered a design from the Marc Lombard team. “We carried out three months of trials using CFD with hulls from our Lift, but also with the hull from a Mach 4 from David Raison to see how we could improve on that. We hope to have the ultimate weapon,” confirmed Eric Levet, architect with the team based in La Rochelle. He added, “We would have liked our client to come to a quick decision and build his moulds in France, as that would have given us the opportunity to do others, but for the moment, he hasn’t decided. We hope to work with a French client soon.” 

This French client could be Lalou Roucayrol, who announced last week his intention to build a Class40 at his new yard, Lalou Multi, which he confirmed to Tip & Shaft“The Class40 corresponds to a size and price which we are able to work on. It fills the gap in some ways between a Mini and a Multi50, and the spirit of the class is close to that of the Multi50.” The aim of the skipper from Aquitaine, who wishes to pass on his know-how to young sailors and is therefore working with Keni Piperol, is to find partners to have a boat for the 2021 Transat Jacques Vabre, before continuing with the 2022 Route du Rhum and The Race Around, the other double-handed round the world race (probably also to be raced solo) with four legs in 2023.

According to our information, a new David Raison designed boat is also in the pipeline, but for the moment he is unable to comment. And Etienne Bertrand hopes to work on a scow project and has been thinking about it for several years: “While working on Jörg Riechers’s 40-footer [designed by Owen-Clarke, editor’s note], built by the South African yard, Cape Racing Yachts, I met the Director and showed him the designs I had in my case and that really interested him. The idea is to build a new boat once the old one is sold.”

Among the skippers we talked to, the Belgian sailor, Jonas Gerckens, who is trying to sell his current Class40, told us he would like to start work on a new construction in September if he manages to find a partner in addition to Volvo. The same goes for William Mathelin-Moreaux who after Beijaflore pulled out, has been looking for a partner to work with him until the 2022 Route du Rhum with a new boat. “Things might get sorted later this month as we seem to be moving forward,” he told us.

For both of them, if things work out, they will also need to find a yard. The Class President, Halvard Mabire, explained, We are lacking yards and JPS is a bit alone. The latter’s order book is likely to fill up again: “We have quite a few of our clients who would like to build a new boat for the Route du Rhum. We haven’t yet had to turn anyone down, but we can only manage four boats a year. We want to keep our customised approach with boats aimed at performance,” explained Nicolas Groleau, the head of the yard in La Trinité.

This lack of yards explains why Pogo Structures is returning to the class as Erwan Tymen, the technical manager told Tip & Shaft. The yard from SW Brittany had not built a 40-foot boat since Kiho which belongs to the Japanese sailor, Hiroshi Kitada, and that was back in 2015. “Last week, we launched a study for the new Pogo 40 S4 with Guillaume Verdier. We had been thinking about it for a long time, but we couldn’t find the time. This year we had a gap in our schedule and as we saw that there was some demand, we grabbed the opportunity. The idea is to start work on the construction in September and for the boat to be launched in early 2021.” Finding clients should not be a problem with the yard run by Christian Bouroullec wishing to stick with their methods: We prefer to create our own boat from scratch wit a designer rather than build one with the designs given to us by the client.”

While the market for new boats looks promising, the second-hand market is also thriving: Leyton, which was chartered by Arthur Le Vaillant from François-René Carluer, has just been sold to Charles-Louis Mourruau, who registered at the last minute for The Transat CIC. “I had planned to race on her this season, but as I had another offer and I could see how well the scows perform, so I sold her with the goal of building a new boat. One designed by Manuard or Verdier would suit me,” confirmed François-René Carluer.

Among the other boats which recently changed hands, Corum (Mach 40.3) was acquired by the German, Christopher Opielok for the Globe 40, Beijaflore (Lift40 winner of the Rhum) headed for Granville for the duo Benoît Charron-Nicolas JossierV&B (Mach 40.3) is now in American colours (Greg Leonard), Campagne de France (designed by Nivelt/Mabire) has become Everial for Stan Thuretthe former Tales (designed by Botin, winner of the 2014 Rhum) has been chartered by the Italian, Andrea Fornaro from Loïc Féquet, while another Italian, Ernesto Moresino, has bought n°122 to race in the Globe 40. The Akilaria RC2 (designed by Lombard) was until now owned by the Croatian triple Olympic skiing medallist, Ivica Kostelic, who wants a newer boat. He has plenty to choose from as Aïna Enfance & Avenir (Mach 40.3), Volvo (Mach 40) and the Tizh 40 ( Verdier design) aboard which Bertrand de Broc finished eighth in the Transat Jacques Vabre are available…


2020 season: two transatlantic races, America and Normandy

The Class40 2020 season championship includes four races, The Transat CIC (start on 10th May), the Atlantic Cup (5th-21st June) in North America, the Quebec-Saint-Malo (start on 12th July) and the Normandy Channel Race (10th – 20th September). 9 or 10 skippers will race in The Transat CIC (Pierre-Charles Mourruau and the Swede Mikael Ryking registered at the last minute), “a disappointment” for Hervé Favre, CEO of OC Sport, which is organising the race: “We did our utmost to offer them the best conditions, including an automatic qualification for the Route du Rhum for all the Transat CIC’s participants.”
What are the reasons why the race is not as popular as previous editions, (11 in 2008, 10 in 2016)? “It’s a race that scares racers a bit,” explained Louis Duc, who, if he had not lost his boat on the way back from the Transat Jacques Vabre, would have put this race in his programme. “It doesn’t get people dreaming as much as the Route du Rhum and it is a bit early in the season,” added Luke Berry who will be one of the favourites. For Halvard Mabire, “it’s a bit disappointing, but as time goes by, it is getting harder to motivate people to go and do upwind races. The way our boats have evolved does not fit in with that. There is also a problem about how attractive the race is: everyone talks about a legendary race, how Tabarly won twice, but that is a story for old-timers like me… Today, if you ask the general public, it doesn’t mean much.”
After that numbers are likely to be on the rise for the other events with around fifteen boats expected in the Atlantic Cup, twenty or so in the Quebec-Saint-Malo, and probably a few more in the Normandy Channel Race.

Photo: Christophe Breschi / Crédit Mutuel

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