Country FR

NZL 64

Baptismal nameImagine
ArchitectVPLP - Verdier
Construction2007, Indiana Yachting, Italie
Launch date9/5/07
Former namesGroupe BEL, IMAGINE, For Humble Heroes, Le Souffle du Nord, Kilcullen Team Irlande, V and B - Mayenne, MAIL BOXES ETC.


In 2007, Groupe Bel was one of the first two VPLP-Verdier designs and she would go on to revolutionise IMOCA racing for several years. Though the hull and her distinctive chine that spreads over her entire length are the same as that on Safran, she is equipped with a wing mast and twin steering wheels and was built by the Indiana Yachting yard in Italy.

Designed for Kito de Pavant, who was preparing for the Vendée Globe 2008-2009, she finished 6th in the Transat Jacques Vabre (with Sébastien Col), but dismasted in the Bay of Biscay the day after the start of the round the world in a meaty depression picking up very heavy seas. As a result, 2009 is an opportunity to beat the Trans-Mediterranean record (1 day 20 hours) before finishing second in the Transat Jacques Vabre with François Gabart. However, the Route du Rhum 2010 campaign comes to an end following a faulty keel pin, as is the case in the Barcelona World Race (with Sébastien Audigane). Kito de Pavant amasses a series of technical issues (dismasting, then collision), marring the track record of an otherwise formidable IMOCA, which has gained widespread acceptance. Kito de Pavant hands over his boat to Imagine, who competes in the Route du Rhum with Armel Tripon (4th) before having to draw a line under the Vendée Globe due to a sad affair with his partner. Thomas Ruyant took the helm again for the Transat Jacques Vabre 2015 with Adrien Hardy (4th) before a first Vendée Globe in 2016-17 that ended in New Zealand after colliding with a UFO and literally tearing the hull and then the deck like a tin can. The sailor from the north of France managed to bring his boat back to port, just as it was threatening to break in two. Bought by Irishman Enda O'Coineen and repaired in Christchurch, the ex-Souffle du Nord returned to Les Sables d'Olonne on a delivery trip, before being sold to Maxime Sorel at the end of 2018. V and B-Mayenne takes part in the Bermuda 1000 Race (5th), then in the Transat Jacques Vabre with Guillaume Le Brec (16th). During the Vende Globe 2020-21, the young Sorel sailed a remarkable race and finished 10th, just 2 days and 8 hours behind the winner Yannick Bestaven. Conrad Colman bought him in April 2022, finishing 10th in the Guyader Bermuda 1000 Race in May and 18th in the Vendée Arctique in June. The brilliant New Zealander had completed his first Vendée Globe without fossil fuel and in 16th place under jury rig after breaking his mast 700 miles from the finish in 2017. After a more than remarkable Route du Rhum, with only 7 months in control of the boat, Conrad Colman was struggling to find the funds to continue his adventure... Until Mail Boxes etc. signed him up for a partnership to race in the 2023 season, and potentially up to the Vendée Globe 2024.

Length18,28 m
Beam5,5 m
Draught4,5 m
Weight8 tonnes
Mast height29 m
Mast typeWing mast
Sail area max.
Upwind365 m2
Downwind700 m2

Sailing Highlights

2024 : New York Vendée - Les Sables d'Olonne - 21th
2023 : Retour à La Base - 15th
2023 : Transat Jacques Vabre - 24th
2022 : Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe - 18th
2022 : Défi Azimut-Lorient Agglomération - 18th
2022 : Vendée Arctique - 18th
2022 : Guyader Bermudes 1000 Race - 10th
2020-2021 : Vendée Globe - 10th
2020 : Défi Azimut-Lorient Agglomération - 11th
2020 : Vendée Arctique - 11th
2019 : Transat Jacques Vabre - 16th
2019 : Défi Azimut-Lorient Agglomération - 9th
2019 : Rolex Fastnet Race - Abandon
2019 : Guyader Bermudes 1000 Race - 5th
2018 : Monaco Globe Series - 4th
2016-2017 : Vendée Globe - Abandon le 20/12/2016
2016 : Défi Azimut-Lorient Agglomération - 8th
2015 : Transat St Barth - Port La Forêt - Abandon le 14/12
2015 : Transat Jacques Vabre - 4th
2015 : Rolex Fastnet Race - 4th
2014 : Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe - 4th
2012-2013 : Vendée Globe - Abandon le 12/11/2012
2012 : Europa Warm'Up - Abandon le 30/05/2012
2011 : Transat Jacques Vabre - 5th
2010-2011 : Barcelona World Race - Abandon le 12/03/11
2010 : Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe - Abandon le 5/11
2009 : Transat Jacques Vabre - 2nd
2008-2009 : Vendée Globe - Abandon le 11/11/08
© © Jean-Marie Liot / Alea
© © Jean-Marie Liot / Alea
© © Jean-Marie Liot / Alea
© © Jean-Marie Liot / Alea