Thierry Martinez / Sea & Co/ www.thmartinez.com

New Juan K IMOCA 60 completes inversion test

Bernard Stamm's new Cheminees Poujoulat is righted in La Ciotat

Friday May 13th 2011, Author: James Boyd, Location: France

Yesterday in La Ciotat, Bernard Stamm's new Juan K-designed IMOCA 60 was launched and this morning she underwent her mandatory 180deg inversion test as required by class rules. Also revealed in this process was the boat's new paintjob in the colours, as was Stamm's previous Open 60, of Cheminees Poujoulat.

For an IMOCA 60 the 180deg inversion test is no small undertaking. First the hull, sans mast, must be capsized with the use of a crane - to emulate the boat being capsized and dismasted (as befell several Open 60s in the 1990s - hence the introduction of the rule). It is then up to the skipper to right the boat without external help, by canting the keel. This morning the Swiss double Velux 5 Oceans winner  successfully passed this test.

"It's a bit stressful," admitted Stamm. "Inside the boat it's dark and you can hear the thumps. But this test is a good lesson for a skipper, of what it would be like if his boat capsized. It was also an opportunity to check the watertightness of the deck. There were very small leaks and we now know where they are. From here we continue with the program: to step the rig, test everything and then go sailing! The first sailing is important because this is a complicated machine."

The boat's one objective is the Vendee Globe, but before then there is a big program this summer - first the Tour of Europe in July, followed by the Rolex Fastnet Race in August and the Transat Jacques Vabre in October.

More images from Thierry Martinez

More photos from Gilles Morelle/www.gillesmorelle.com

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