New Foncia launched

madforsailing talks to Alain Gautier about his new 60ft tri which Ellen MacArthur will again be racing on
Several new 60ft trimarans are being launched in France at the moment in preparation for the 2002 9 Telecom ORMA Championship that culminates in the singlehanded transatlantic race, the Route du Rhum in November. Alain Gautier's new Foncia trimaran was launched last week and is due to go on her maiden voyage this weekend. This will be of particular interest as once again Ellen MacArthur will be sailing on board for many of the Grand Prix. Gautier, trimaran skipper extraordinaire and a former Vendee Globe winner, was part of the team that worked on the design of Ellen's Open 60 Kingfisher. This approach has clearly influenced him as he has taken a 'team' approach to the design of the new boat. "We created a design team for the new project, so the new boat can be designed to be easy to sail as possible in either grand prix or offshore," Gautier told madforsailing, adding that they have paid particular attention to the ergonomics of the deck layout. As with the old Foncia, core to the team are designers Marc van Peteghem and Vincent Lauriot Prevost. But this time they have worked alongside Gautier, Halvard Mabire, structural engineer Herve Devaux and aerodynamicist Mick Kermarec, who is also part of Prada's design team. Performance-wise Gautier expected the new boat will be better reaching. "The boat will be faster than the other Foncia because with the old boat we had some trouble reaching. The floats were too flat and old and they didn't pass well in the sea". One of the interesting aspects of the French 60ft trimaran fleet is that to keep costs down they take a similar approach to building their boats as British Leyland did in the 1970s, where doors and interiors could well be common to different models. All the