Yvan Zedda / Foncia

New Foncia launched

Michel Desjoyeaux's latest generation VPLP-Verdier design gets dipped

Monday September 20th 2010, Author: James Boyd, Location: France

The new Foncia IMOCA 60 of double Vendee Globe winner Michel Desjoyeaux was launched today in Port-La-Forêt.This VPLP/Verdier design is of latest generation, a design completed in January, and built by CDK Composites in a record time of just six  months. There now remains just 40 days for Desjoyeaux and his team to trial and work up their new boat prior to the start of the Route du Rhum on 31 October.

The launch took place today in Port-La-Forêt, in the presence of 200 people, and immediately was put through her 180deg inversion test demanded by the IMOCA class rule.

“Finally we will be able to go sailing,” commented a delighted Michel Desjoyeaux keen to see how his new Open 60 performs.

With a delay of only 15 days, Foncia has been constructed six months, two months less than Desjoyeaux's previous boat in which he won the Vendée Globe. “In fact, we very carried out design and construction at the same time," says Desjoyeaux, who was involved in the complete process of the design and build.

“I was involved throughout, in the design to the building to tighten the bolts," says Desjoyeaux. "I think that of the four boats I've built, this is the one which I will know best. To know the boat from top to bottom has always been my leitmotiv: the better you know how it is done, the more you can make use of it."

Following on from Safran, Groupe Bel, PRB and Virbac-Paprec 3, Foncia is the fifth IMOCA from the drawing boards of VPLP and the Guillaume Verdier. However Foncia is a development of all of these, particular in terms of her hull shape with the positioning of her chine and her cabintop/doghouse design. These features came out of the latest iteration of the IMOCA class rule.

Among the new rule includes limiting mast height to 29 meters thus limiting the sail area all of which serves to make the boat lighter. “The objective was to decrease and lower the weight, but, we did not go so far down this road to compromise reliability," states Desjoyeaux. "On the structure, there is some margin. The hull shape enabled us to make it more solid without being heavier. We also gained in other parts like the boom for example, which is 50% lighter than that of Foncia 1”. Readers will note from the photos the double chine and the Bonduelle-style cutting off of the hull/deck join.

The movable doghouse has been copied from the previous Foncia. The cockpit is 70 cm shorter fore and aft providing improved ergonomics for the solo sailor. The ropes still run aft through the doghouse.

The rudders have been designed to be interchangeable very quickly. The system, involves symmetrical foils which can be changed over within 10 minutes.

So Foncia is the result of a number of small evolutions which will now be put through their paces over the 40 days remaining until the Route du Rhum start. On 22 October, Foncia will have to be moored in Saint-Malo. Before then Desjoyeaux will have had to have completed the rest of his new boat's measurement process and stability tests and have completed a singlehanded 1500 mile qualification passage. "I think it is about the same I had had before the Route du Rhum in 2002 which I won!" he points out. "We'll have time to do most thing, but nevertheless we have put together three Open 60s before and the experience we have on this kind of boat which will help us."

Full technical spec here

Read our feature on the three new VPLP-Verdier boats here

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