Latest IMOCA 60 hardware

Photo: Chris Lewis
Guillaume Verdier on his new designs with VPLP
While it may have proved otherwise in the Route du Rhum, the two newest IMOCA 60s, Virbac Paprec 3 and Foncia have been showing a clean pair of heels to the older generation entries in the Barcelona World Race (yes, until Foncia broke her mast). Part of this of course is that the two newest boats also have two of the most experienced and successful crews in the class. Ironically a brief stopover in Recife also left these two on the correct side of the course to fly down the South Atlantic in the best conditions as the competition wallowed. However it was also they that were also leading down the North Atlantic. Virbac Paprec 3 and Foncia are two of the three latest generation IMOCA 60s from the partnership between well known multihull designers Marc van Peteghem and Vincent Lauriot Prevost (VPLP) and Guillaume Verdier. Following on from Marc Guillemot’s Safran and Kito de Pavant’s Groupe Bel (which to be honest didn’t achieve too much success until after the last Vendée Globe when the former won the Transat Jacques Vabre) the VPLP-Verdier partnership at present has the lion’s share of new IMOCA 60 builds. Beyond these Juan Kouyoumdjian has designed the latest steed for Bernard Stamm and Owen Clarke have a secret squirrel project believed to be for Spanish former Barcelona World Race competitor and Vendée Globe skipper, Javier Sanso. The three new VPLP-Verdier boats all have their differences, the most radical being of course Michel Desjoyeaux’s Foncia which we featured back in November (read about this here). The latest PRB for 2004-5 Vendee Globe winner Vincent Riou, had her hull built from Safran’s moulds by Safran’s builder Thierry Eluère, while the team built their own deck and the whole deal was put together by CDK in Port la Fôret. She