Next Vendée Globe to Feature Foiling Monohulls [VIDEO]

Banque Populaire VIII
Via YouTube

Pretty excited to see the folks at Banque Populaire pushing the envelope once more.

Yachtsman Armel Le Cléac’h unveiled today his team’s 18-meter (60-foot) semi-foiling monohull sailing yacht.  The boat has been designed by VPLP Verdier and is under construction at French boat builder CDK with a planned launch in March. The next edition of the Vendée Globe race will be the yacht’s eventual target, but in the mean time has a pretty full race schedule this year including:

1 to 4 May: Grand Prix Guyader (crewed)
19 to 23 June: SNSM Record
June: IMOCA courses in Port-la-Forêt
16 Aug: Rolex Fastnet Race double-handed
25 October: Transat Jacques Vabre

Commenting on the design, VPLP founder and naval architect Vincent Lauriot-Prévost said:

“When the keel is canted windward, the keel blade generates some lift for the boat and to act against the heel, we have the foils making up for the loss of power. We regain the power by generating vertical thrust. The boat is therefore in air mode more than the previous generations. It has to correspond to certain angles and forces that we often find in the Vendée Globe, and the result is a huge gain in speed of several knots. The boat will not be more powerful, but will appear to be lighter with a smaller wetted surface as she is raised up by these appendages.”

Check out their video rendering:

Armel Le Cléac’h added:

“The major innovation is the arrival of foils.

The designers suggested these after the experiments in the America’s Cup and in sailing in general, where foils are becoming more and more common. The idea was to use these new technologies to take the weight off the hull at certain speeds and to allow acceleration. We did a lot of work with the research team and the designers, an dthe whole of the Banque Populaire team. This is a huge challenge, which initailly was very theoretical. We decided to carry out experiments with the Team. We chartered Sébastien Picot’s Mini 6,50 N°198 on which we fitted three daggerboards, one traditional one and two with foils to carry out trials from July 2014 under the supervision of Bertrand Pacé, to find out more.

It was fascinating. It was complicated to set up and adjust and after a lot of attempts, we had some surprises. We went for one of the two options suggested by the designers. We added the foils to the construction in December.”