Production hot rod

While Akilarias have been cleaning up at the Class 40 Worlds, the new racing version is waiting in the wings
While some of the key players, most notably Bernard Stamm and Giovanni Soldini, may not be taking part in the Class 40 World Championship this week, can it be coincidence that the top three boats are all Akilarias, the Marc Lombard-designed Class 40 built by MCTec in Tunisia. The Akilaria has now taken over from the Pogo 40 as the most prolific Class 40 being raced even though only 20 to date have been built compared to the forty Pogo 40s in existence. But what is interesting is that the examples racing on the Solent this week are the old Akilarias, first launched in 2006. Since then the French manufacturer have launched a newer version which Portimao Global Ocean Race winner Boris Herrmann campaigned in the recent Rolex Fastnet Race as Beluga Racer. She was to have competed at the World Championship this week without Herrmann on board, but sadly her Belgium owner, Gerald Bibot, was forced to pull out at the last moment. So what is new about the RC2? According to designer Marc Lombard the original boat was conceived at a time when the Class 40 was to be a supposed cruiser racer, but today it is evident that some boats are being used for racing and racing only. “There was a need to make sure that the Akilaria stays at the highest level in competition, so we decided to make a boat that is optimised in all ways for being at the maximum potential of the rule,” he says. Aside from its creature comforts for cruising, the original Akilaria was aimed primarily at shorthanded racing with transoceanic capability. Today, says Lombard, the Class 40 circuit also includes several inshore, crewed races (even though for the Worlds, for example, crew is still relatively shorthanded, limited to six). Obviously the