Fundamental changes for IMOCA
The members of IMOCA, the Open 60 class association met in Paris on Thursday and Friday last week at irs Annual General Meeting to decide the future of their class, and in particular to discuss two major subjects: the design of the future boat and the programme for the years to come.
The technical committee of the class has been working for two years reviewing different possible designs of the new boat, considering several constraints: reducing cost, increasing reliability and allowing the boats to remain competitive.
The majority decision reached was an integrated solution: a one-design mast and keel. The other elements of the boat must conform to rules of stability, speed, length and construction materials.
The boats will remain 60ft long, with an 1.8m bowsprit and the one-design keel must meet the specifications previously agreed, but significant the foil will made from a single piece of forged steel (Inox).
This new rule comes into effect immediately for any new boats while the current boats can continue to sail under the 2012 rules, or can comply to the new regulations.
The team at Open Sports Management, responsible for the development and commercialisation of the international class, presented the Race Programme for 2013/2014 announcing plans to take the boats to the USA and Asia. To this end, the IMOCA World Championship will change its format, organised around two Series. One Series will be solo, the culmination of which will be the Vendée Globe and another will be two-handed, finishing with the Barcelona World Race.
A New Board
Alex Thomson and Bernard Stamm finished their terms on the Board, but were re-elected. Dominique Wavre returns to the post of Administrator after a two year break, and Marc Guillemot's appointment as Director completes the new Board of IMOCA.
Jean Le Cam, Armel Le Cléac'h, and Vincent Riou also retain their Directorships, while Luc Talbourdet continues as President of the Class.
Luc Talbourdet, President of IMOCA commented: "We've achieved our objectives: we have increased the safety of the boats, have implemented clear rules for the years to come and can now start production on the new boats."
Sir Keith Mills, President of OSM said, "I am really happy about the quality of discussions which we have had over the past two days. We now have the means to develop this class and give it the visibility and resources it deserves."
August: Fastnet Race
November: Transat Jacques Vabre, from Le Havre (France) to Itajai (Brazil)
2014 Race Programme
Spring: Double-handed Transat
Summer: a 1,000 miles long race
November: Route du Rhum
31 December: Barcelona World Race