After the Ultims the Mini 6.50s and the Figaros, Tip & Shaft continues its tour of the key classes by focusing on Class40 which continues to enjoy a great dynamic, with more than ten new boats expected to launch during the coming months.
With 30 new boats built between the 2018 and 2022 editions of the Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe, Class40 experienced a very strong growth period largely due to the arrival of the scows (rounded bows). These now clearly dominate as evidenced by the 2022 Rhum classification which saw them take the top ten places. The first conventional bowed boat was Kito de Pavant’s which finished 11th. Traditionally the post-Rhum years are synonymous with a bit of downturn for architects and yards. But this time that momentum is unchecked as since the Pogo S4 (Verdier design) for the German Lennart Burke which was launched just before the Route du Rhum, thirteen other new 40-footers are expected in 2023 (compared to two in 2019)!
There are four other Pogos, the first three are for Briton Joe Lacey, surgeon Bertrand Guillonneau and Stéphane Bodin (who participated in the last Transquadra and Cap Martinique). There are four Mach 40.5 (Sam Manuard design) for Alexandre Le Gallais, Pierre-Louis Attwell, a Le Havre project for Cédric Château and Jérémie Mion, and Estelle Greck. There are two Lift V2s by Marc Lombard Yacht Design for Edgard Vincens and Fabien Delahaye from Bordeaux, also an Owen Clarke design for the American Michael Hennessy and two Gianluca Guelfi designs (sisterships to Ambrogio Beccaria’s boat which was second on the Rhum), the first one for Andrea Fornaro, the second will be available for the Transat Jacques Vabre.
“Usually, the projects are focused around the Route du Rhum and then there is a little slack period after but it seems the momentum carries on. New projects are starting this year and boats are getting ready to be launched,” confirms the president of the class, Halvard Mabire, who will give up that role at the next general assembly in March. “We realize that the class has become sufficiently appealing to no longer be totally dependent on the Route du Rhum. The progam now is so strong we are seeing more and more come in from other classes.”
” It is a very good entry point into ocean racing”
The winner of the Solitaire du Figaro 2021, Pierre Quiroga, who is looking for partners for a four-year project up to the Route du Rhum 2026, with a Gianluca Guelfi design in his sights, talks of “an overall budget of 1.8 million”, which according to him remains much lower than that of an Ocean Fifty project, which he has also watched closely. At the same time he is one of the applicants to take over the helm of the future Viabilis (formerly Leyton) in 2023. That the selection of the skipper is underway. “Class40 seems to me the most relevant in terms of cost/return on investment, but also from a sports perspective there is a fairly comprehensive circuit which allows you to participate in major races. But to get good media exposure in this class you have to win, so the idea is really to come up with a winning project.”
“Good used boats
are very rare”
“The super good Class40s all went before the Rhum, it’s hard to find one. I studied the possibility of building one, but it’s not the same budget and as I don’t have a big background in Class40 , I prefer the chance to practice sooner rather than later. We give it a few more weeks otherwise we will look for a charter.” That solution not necessarily very economic compared to a purchase, insofar as a recent Class40 charters out for around 150,000 euros a year – by comparison, Redman, Antoine Carpentier’s boat is for sale at 680,000 euros with two sets of sails included.
“Fewer renewals than usual”
And Tanguy Leglatin, who trains a dozen skippers in Lorient, warns: “We have to remain vigilant and reasonable about the increasing budgets. Until now, the class had a good quality:price ratio, it has to remain the case, do we really need to go even faster?”
Photo: Jean-Marie Liot