Akilaria RC2 to head for the States

Joe Harris orders his replacement for Gryphon Solo

Thursday October 7th 2010, Author: Ollie Dewar, Location: United States

Following seven years of successfully campaigning his Groupe Finot designed Open 50 Gryphon Solo, US offshore sailor Joe Harris has chosen a Class40 as his new weapon of choice by ordering an Akilaria RC2 from MC-TEC.

Since winning the 50ft monohull class of the Transat Jacques Vabre in 2005 with Josh Hall as co-skipper, Harris won the Open Division of the 2006 Newport-Bermuda Race and set a new course record with an overall victory in the 2007 Bermuda One-Two race. He then sold Gryphon Solo to a movie production company – the yacht plays a pivotal role in the recently-released The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud - in July 2009 and began an intensive research program into Class40s.

The research included chartering a Class40 for the RORC Caribbean 600 and the Newport-Bermuda Race earlier this year and a thorough study of the new and used Class40 marketplace. The decision to buy a Marc Lombard-designed Akilaria RC2 was taken carefully: “For some time Josh and I have been investigating all the possibilities for my entry into Class40,” explains Harris. “We eventually found the right mix of performance, pricing and delivery schedule for my program with experienced builder MC-TEC and the first laminations will begin at their Tunisian yard next week.”

Delivery of Harris’ Akilaria RC2 will be in early March 2011 and a busy programme of US-based inshore and offshore racing is already in place. This order for an Akilaria RC2 Class40 is the latest in a string of enquiries for the MC-TEC yard and Frédéric Meunier, General Manager of Akilaria, is delighted that the company’s co-sponsorship of the Global Ocean Race, formalised just under two months ago, has quickly delivered results. “Our association with the Global Ocean Race has already been extremely productive with Joe’s order coming as a direct result of the sponsorship arrangement we have with the event.” says Meunier.

There will be 13 Akilaria Class 40s on the start line of the 2010 Route du Rhum on Sunday 31 October including four Akilaria RC2s (Thierry Bouchard’s Comiris - Pôle Santé Elior; DMS of Pete Goss; Fabrice Amedeo’s Géodis and Philippe Fiston’s Territoires Attitude) and it is certain that Harris and Meunier will follow the fleet closely. “Our boats have a race-winning pedigree and we believe that the new Akilaria RC2 is an excellent choice for continuing that reputation – whether it is offshore or inshore racing,” enthuses Meunier. “Our boats filled the podium of the Class40 Worlds this year and we look forward to our owners excelling in the Route du Rhum and the forthcoming series of Global Ocean Races,” he adds.

Josh Hall, Race Director of the GOR, is extremely pleased that a friend, racing colleague and talented offshore sailor has chosen such an exciting Class40. “Joe has ordered a boat that will provide him with a highly competitive platform for the coming few years,” says Hall. “I am thrilled that his dream of racing solo around the world has taken this almighty leap towards reality. It is also highly rewarding for us that the sponsorship arrangement we have with Akilaria is yielding great results already.”

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