At their General Assembly on 15 October, the members of the IMOCA class confirmed the current rule will be maintained thus allowing work to go ahead on boat appendages provided they respect the rule set out in 2013. Since the keels and masts are now one-design under the new rule, designers and engineers predictably are focussing on the appendages.
Based on their multihull experience, many of the new projects are working on the introduction of foils or other appendages. It is however a very complex technology and a number of avenues for research are currently being explored.
The press release issued about the Dynamic Stability System (DSS) technology and lateral foils aimed at improving the righting moment shows one such possibility. Although the company behind this concept may be dealing with certain IMOCA teams to equip some boats under construction, we know that many other solutions are being investigated. In this respect, IMOCA highlights the fact that no specific technological process has been proven, and that IMOCA’s sole function is to check that the boats conform to the rule. The DSS technology is one of the paths that might be followed, but it is not the only one. Moreover it is part of the beauty of the class that it remains open to innovation and rejects no initiative insofar as it respects the constraints of the rule.