In this edition:
The 2 new foilers, which this year demonstrated their high level of performance and their versatility in The Transat (Banque Populaire VIII) and in the Trophée Azimut (Banque Populaire VIII followed by Safran 2), are fresh out of their optimisation and intense reinforcement phases, which have enabled them to make great in-roads into their deficit in terms of upwind performance.
After taking victory in The Transat, Banque Populaire VIII is obviously one of the favourites. She has the same hull as Safran, characterised by her power on a reach.
The third foiler of the group, Maitre Coq, second in the Vendée Globe 2008 in the hands of Armel Le Cléac’h, is the only boat from 2010 that originally sported classic straight daggerboards to have had them replaced by straight foils. The initial results confirm that this decision was well-founded with a fine victory in the Transat NYC Les Sables d’Olonne 2016.
PRB is a narrower boat from 2009, equipped with straight daggerboards. She has been modified to comply with the new measurement. She’s one of the lightest of the fleet and won the Transat Jacques Vabre 2015 ahead of the latest generation foilers.
SMA, first in the last Vendée Globe (MACIF François Gabart), has stuck with the former measurement and features straight daggerboards. She really showed what she was made of in the recent Défi Azimut. She boasts the best performance of the former generation boats.
Finally, the 2 sisterships launched in 2007, Initiatives Cœur skippered by Tanguy de Lamotte and Finistère Mer Vent skippered by Jean Le Cam, complete the line-up. These 2 Farr designs, one of which won the Vendée Globe 2008 in the hands of Michel Desjoyeaux, have a slight deficit in speed compared with previous boats, but they’ve been optimised with a new VPLP design bow. These are tried and tested boats, which will enable their skippers to really put pedal to the metal and get the best out of them.
We mustn’t overlook No Way Back either. She’s been reinforced at the architects’ request over at Keroman Technologies.
The presence of these 3 generations of boats on the start line shines a spotlight on the constant spirit of innovation that drives all the contributors from CDK Technologies in their bid to further embellish the finest winners’ list in solo offshore racing.