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We're about to find out

© Thierry Martinez / BPCE
© Thierry Martinez / BPCE
  • Launching of Armel Le Cléac’h’s IMOCA Banque Populaire VIII
  • The first training in Port-la-Forêt will see the older and new generations battle it out
  • Andrea Mura’s monohull unmoulded at Persico in Bergamo
  • The St-Michel - Virbac hull unmoulded at Multiplast

Something’s brewing in the IMOCA Class as the first dates of the IMOCA Ocean Masters draw near. In Port-la-Forêt, Banque Populaire was launched and then quickly delivered to Lorient right in time for the Volvo Ocean Race start. In Italy, Andrea Mura’s project is coming together.

Like a kid: Armel Le Cléac’h is clearly under the spell of his new mount, which sports decorations in sharp contrast with his previous boats, a new design by VPLP - Verdier, and the addition of much-heralded foils meant to provide significantly increased performances at certain speeds. This being a new research field, new habits will surely need to be developed to optimize the foils’ potential. Racers, architects and shipyards all agree that it will be difficult to compare the navigation angles of foil-equipped monohulls with those of more standard units, but therein lies the excitement.

L’aventure, c’est l’aventure

For Eric Bellion, to find himself at the start of the next Vendée Globe is already a victory. An experienced sailor, he purchased the former DCNS with the contribution of numerous patrons he managed to convince. Comme un seul home (Stand as One) is now based in Port-la-Forêt, the Mecca for offshore racing. Most importantly, Eric secured crucial support from Michel Desjoyeaux himself, which allowed him to have his IMOCA entirely overhauled by the technical teams of Mer Agitée.

Boats in the Offing

Two more boats should soon join the water. Andrea Mura had his monohull (also designed by VPLP - Verdier) built by the Persico shipyard, regarded as state-of-the-art. In Vannes, the St-Michel - Virbac hull has just been unmoulded at the Multiplast shipyard. For Jean-Pierre Dick it is a first since all his previous boats were built in New Zealand.

First confrontation

From 16 to 19 June, four IMOCA boats will be training at the elite training centre “Pôle France” in Port-la-Forêt. It is sure to be an exciting confrontation: two of the most competitive 2012-generation monohulls, Vincent Riou’s PRB as well as SMA skippered by Paul Meilhat (having taken over François Gabart’s former boat), will be facing the very latest designs, Morgan Lagravière’s Safran and Armel Le Cléac’h’s  Banque Populaire. We can now find out… 


See all skippers's quotes on: www.imocaoceanmasters.com


IMOCA Ocean Masters

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