The most recent boat in the IMOCA fleet, Corum L’Epargne was due to be launched on 21st March in Port-la-Forêt. Tip & Shaft talked to Michel Desjoyeaux, as with his company, Mer Agitée, he was the project manager for the construction of the Juan Kouyoumdjian designed boat.
The World Championships of the 470 class (March 16-21), the giant Trofeo Princesa Sofia Olympic regatta (March 27-April 4), the Sailing World Cup Genoa (11-19 April), the 44Cup Portoroz (22-26 April), the GC32 Racing Tour in Oman (25-29 March), the ACWS Cagliari (22-26 April), these events are all either cancelled or postponed. In France the list of events to be rescheduled include Easter’s Spi Ouest France, the Massila Cup, the SNIM, the Solo Maitre CoQ The coronavirus outbreak is affecting the whole of the competitive sailing world. Tip & Shaft takes a view.
Britain’s Abby Ehler has three Volvo Ocean Races round the world under her belt. Since last year she has moved from mainly offshore roles to sail on the 52 SUPER SERIES as the only full time female pro sailor in the grand prix inshore fleet, racing as mid bow on the Plattners’ Phoenix team. Late last year she completed the first Transatlantic of a modern IMOCA in fully crewed ‘Ocean Race’ mode. Tip & Shaft caught up with Abby in Cape Town…..
After four seasons in the Figaro circuit, Justine Mettraux will only be competing in 2020 in the Transat AG2R La Mondiale, in order to hand over her Figaro 3 TeamWork to her fellow Swiss sailor, Nils Palmieri. Mettraux, now 33 years old, was discovered in France in the Mini 6.50 (2nd in the 2013 Mini-Transat). She tells us why she is moving on, talks about her projects, in particular The Ocean Race, and looks back at the start of her career on Lake Geneva.
After a 2019 season which finished with the Transat Jacques Vabre victory of Charlie Dalin and Yann Eliès, the IMOCA class is setting up for an intense, exciting 2020. It starts with two Spring Transats, (The Transat CIC and New York- Vendée) and then, of course, the solo pinnacle Vendée Globe in November. Tip & Shaft takes stock with IMOCA president, Antoine Mermod.
When the announcement came in March 2018 that the Barcelona World Race was to be suspended, held over until 2022-23, there was disappointment among the IMOCA racing community, especially among the up and coming sailors for whom the two handed round the world race served as an entry level opportunity, and indeed some sailors had already sold the race to their sponsors. But it also proved body blow to the Spanish solo and short handed racing fraternity.
Juan Kouyoumdjian: “Its is very difficult, if not impossible, to design boats and foils that work well at all speeds”
With the design of the new Arkéa Paprec and Corum L’Epargne, Juan Yacht Design returned to the IMOCA class during 2019, coming back to a class which has not yet really yielded the big successes that Juan K enjoyed in the Volvo Ocean Race. 48-year-old Juan Kouyoumdjian remains one of the most interesting architects of this generation. His spectrum of interest spans everything from Olympic class optimisations (Finn and previously the Star) to the America’s Cup, including record breaking monohulls and production yachts (including the latest ClubSwan 50 and ClubSwan 36). Speaking to Tip & Shaft, he majors this time on the IMOCA and the America’s Cup.
Australian ace Will Oxley, 54, had a truly stellar 2019 as navigator contributing significantly to the unprecedented double on David and Peter Askew’s US flagged VO70 Wizard, victors on the RORC Caribbean 600 and then also the Fastnet Race which saw them crowned RORC Yacht of the Year. His season just finished on a high with his second overall Sydney Hobart win as navigator on the TP52 Ichi Ban, adding to their overall win in 2017…
Ten months before the start of the Vendée Globe and a very intense build up season which will open with The Transat CIC (starts May 10) and rolls straight into the New York-Vendée (June 16), almost all of the IMOCAs are fully engaged in their winter refits. For some the job list is more comprehensive and may include new foils, for others constrained by budgets it is more about maximising reliability and small incremental performance gains.
24th on the Transat Jacques Vabre – her first big IMOCA transatlantic – Pip Hare, back to her home base in Poole, England, had just lifted her famous evergreen 20 year old IMOCA Superbigou out of the water ready for a refit to be ready for the 2020 season and the Vendée Globe. Hare, 45, a former Mini sailor, is on one of the tightest budgets of the fleet but says if she does not have the money she won’t do the race…