Ultim Class: Boats in the vanguard of innovation and performance
Eight maxi-trimarans rank among this year’s contenders. This clash of the titans – the first in solo configuration over a long format – is very eagerly awaited, particularly in light of the fact that two of these machines designed to circumnavigate the globe in solo configuration were only launched in 2021:
Armel Le Cléac’h’s CDK-U-05-2021 Maxi Banque Populaire XI* saw the entire project management and foil manufacture taken care of by CDK Technologies, together with the key components (floats, beams and foils) of François Gabart’s CDK-U-06-2021 SVR Lazartigue (Trans-Mediterranean record holder).
Their performances between Brittany and Guadeloupe will obviously be examined in great detail. Yves Le Blévec’s CDK-U-03-2015 Actual Ultim 3, was also created across the yard’s two sites in Port-la-Forêt and Lorient in 2015.
This pioneering multihull has been the solo round the world record holder since 2017 (42 days 16 hours 40 minutes and 35 seconds) and was named winner of the Transat Jacques Vabre 2015, The Transat bakerly 2016 and then The Bridge that same year, and she is bound to continue fleshing out her successful track record, now in the colours of a group specialising in temping.
IMOCA Class: Boats with multiple lives
Alongside these three Ultims, eleven CDK Technologies’ IMOCAs will line up for the race start with high hopes, beginning with CDK-I(F)14-2019, Charlie Dalin’s Apivia, which took line honours in the Vendée Globe 2020-2021, and has notably posted a flawless performance in all the pre-season races in 2022.
The progress of the new summer launches, CDK-I(F)15-2022 Charal 2 skippered by Jérémie Beyou and CDK-I(F)16-2022 Maître CoQ V skippered by Yannick Bestaven, will be closely monitored in this their transatlantic debut, even if their respective skippers are unlikely to have had the time to really hone their new machines at this stage of their preparation so they’ll be hard pushed to really get the best out of them.
It’s a similar scenario for Justine Mettraux, for whom the Rhum will be her first solo transatlantic in IMOCA aboard the CDK-I(F)10-2018 TeamWork (ex-Charal 1). She will undoubtedly be one to watch though, as will the CDK-I(F)13-2020 CORUM l’Épargne skippered by Nicolas Troussel, CDK-I(F)09-2015 Groupe Apicil skippered by Damien Seguin (ex-Maître CoQ IV, winner of the Vendée Globe 2020-2021), CDK-I(F)08-2015 Medallia helmed by Pip Hare (ex BP8, a boat with two Vendée Globe podiums to her credit, including a victory in 2016), as well as CDK-I-07-2011 Monnoyeur – Duo for a Job helmed by Benjamin Ferré (title holder in the last two editions in the colours of Macif in 2014, then SMA 2018).
All of them will be sure to make their presence felt in the battle out on the water. The same is true for CDK-I-06-2010, Arnaud Boissières’ La Mie Câline (2nd then 3rd boat in the Vendée Globe 2012 and 2016, 2nd in the Route du Rhum 2014), CDK-I-03-2006 COMMEUNSEULHOMME Powered by Altavia skippered by Éric Bellion (ex Foncia, winner of the Vendée Globe 2008) and also CDK-I-04-2006 Fives Lantana-Environnement helmed by Louis Duc.
OCEAN FIFTY Class: A shared desire to push the envelope
The Ocean Fiftys also have a lot going for them of course. Indeed, two of them will be on the startline showcasing CDK Technologies’ passion and know-how for the construction of these 50-foot multihulls: CDK-OF-02-2009 GCA - Gilles Lamiré’s Mille et un sourires, which secured a podium finish in the 2014 edition of the race with Erwan Le Roux in the colours of FenêtréA, and CDK-OF-03-2017 Sam Goodchild’s Leyton, winner of the Pro Sailing Tour 2021, followed by a win in the 1000 Milles des Sables 2022, and two second places in the Drheam Cup and the Pro Sailing Tour 2022
All these flagships of offshore racing are poised to be a part of the famous Rhum legend, their skippers eager to continue pushing back the boundaries and inspiring the teams at CDK Technologies to build and develop unique boats capable of winning races. This year’s Route du Rhum is sure to boast a series of top-flight matches in every one of the categories represented.
The evolution of foiling boats according to Stéphane Digard,Deputy Manager of CDK Technologies
What has been the impact of foils in the IMOCA class since 2015?
“The percentage of foilers has risen from 30 to 70% of the IMOCA fleet, and 100% of the new launches. The principle behind foiling is that it takes the pressure off the boat because the hull surface in contact with the water is reduced, allowing the boat to fully power up. In this way, the peak speed has increased by 20 to 30%, but the resulting impact with the waves has prompted a complete recalculation of the internal structure of the boats and the reinforcements around the foil casings and hull bottoms in particular. A more visible consequence of the addition of foils is a growing trend for the more widespread use of ‘scow-type’ bows. Indeed, with the bow being out of the water more frequently, these rounded forms enable the boat to slip through the water better as it comes down off the plane.”And the decision to allow foils in the OCEAN FIFTY class in 2017”
And the decision to allow foils in the OCEAN FIFTY class in 2017?
“The first curved foils in the OCEAN FIFTY appeared with the 2017 generation boats (CIELA VILLAGE 2). They were one-design curved foils, which were a lot less extreme than those developed for the IMOCAs and ULTIMs. The addition of these appendages required structural reinforcement of the beams in particular on the existing boats. Thanks to these appendages, the 50-foot boats, despite their controlled budgets, have been able to reach speeds bordering on 40 knots, which were hitherto unimaginable! The fleet is now very uniform as a result , paving the way for superlative racing out on the water.”
Has the arrival of foils in the ULTIM class prompted any major technical advances?
“The ULTIMs passed a milestone between 2018 and 2022, largely due to a greater understanding in real time of the loads and distortion recorded in structures and appendages through the more widespread use of fibre optics. Equipped with lifting surfaces on the rudders and daggerboards, these boats are now stable in flight, and the central hulls hardly ever touch the water, resulting in a tendency to reduce their volume. Another hidden development: for the structures to withstand the increased stresses from the appendages, they (the beams, floats) are increasingly being cooked in an autoclave to improve their resistance. A major innovation for these boats, this system was introduced by CDK. Generally, the creation of ‘dynamic’ lift through the development of foils has made the race to save weight a lesser priority, with more of an emphasis on structural reinforcement.”