Adieu Marc Lombard, the innovator of modern sailboats

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Marc Lombard

Designer, innovator, pioneer, Marc Lombard passed away at the age of 64 from a serious illness and leaves a great void in the sailing world. Breaking the news was the La Rochelle-based firm itself, which in an official note made it clear that Lombard had already anticipated his exit to staff and the firm will continue operations after him.

Marco Lombard – The Beginnings

By 1982, Marc Lombard had established his studio in La Rochelle, and from there 40 years of history began, leading him to design more than 180 boats, racing and cruising. There is no doubt that ocean racing was the first love of Lombard, who was one of the most successful designers around.

By the 1990s he was already designing the first racing Opens dedicated to the Vendée Globe, Whirlpool and Sill, but it would be with Jean Le Cam’s Imoca 60 Bonduelle that a Lombard design would end up on the podium at the round-the-world race, second in 2004. The Class 40 Arkea Paprec, designed by Lombard, won the last Route du Rhum, its Mini 650s have often dominated in the Ocean, and it is difficult to sum up in a few lines a career that in the racing world has been studded with successes.

Marc Lombard the innovator

However, Lombard is also known, especially in the last 20 years, for its cruisers. Father of the RMs, modern Oceanis, Neels and many other brands, he brought personal ideas to the cruising world, often first put into practice on racing boats. It is no coincidence that he was one of the pioneers of the pronounced-width edged boats, turning a feature of racing boats into an opportunity to increase the interior space of cruising boats. The latest cruisers designed by Marc Lombard also have rather large bow volumes, as is most strikingly the case on racing scows. Trends that set the standard.

One of his last projects was Beneteau’s Oceanis 37.1, a boat that has some stylistic “goodies” that confirm how Lombard was always looking for a key to leave his signature even on a pleasure boat. In this case, he eliminated the backstay, increasing the length of the spreaders and their quarter, to allow the rudder wheels to sit further aft and thus increase the interior space devoted to the rear cabins. An innovator in short, in the world of racing as well as cruising. Modern boating will miss it.

 

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