In four years the IMOCAs (an acronym for International Monohull Open Class Association) have changed their skin, becoming the queen boats of ocean racing: here is what has happened in such a short time…
The one who emerges victorious from the last Transat Jacques Vabre is him: the IMOCA 60 foil (hull length 18.28 m, overall length 20.12) . The class with which the Vendée Globe (solo round-the-world race) is run has demonstrated its potential in terms of speed and reliability, becoming in effect the true queen of ocean racing.
Not coincidentally, in 2021, the round-the-world crewed race (formerly the Volvo Ocean Race) will also have IMOCAs among its protagonists, who will compete for The Ocean Race Trophy. We were struck by a remark by ocean sailor Gaetano Mura: “The new flying machines go two knots faster than their sisters with first-generation foils, which in turn go two knots faster than their ‘distant relatives’ with traditional dinghies. So four knots of difference between the first and the last. Such a difference in the same category I think you don’t see in any sport.”
A reflection reflected in the numbers: the winners of the 2015 edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre were Vincent Riou and Sebastien Col, who took 17 days and 22 minutes on PRB (a traditional IMOCA without foil). In 2019 Apivia by Charlie Dalin and Yann Eliès (pictured above) took 13 days, 12 hours and 8 minutes. Roughly speaking, 3 1/2 days less!
In just four years, we have gone from hulls ‘anchored’ to the water to foil-equipped flying bolides that are becoming more and more sophisticated and, above all, reliable: remember how many breakages at the 2017 Jacques Vabre? This time, with the exception of “boss” Alex Thomson hitting an unidentified object head-on, there were no breaks and failures related to the appendages. We believe that the IMOCA revolution is only just beginning. How about you?
(photo by Maxime Horlaville/Disobey/Apivia)