© Jean-Marie LIOT / Malizia

The IMOCA Class is working on the development of a more sustainable performance and is supporting its members in order to orientate their thinking towards more responsible innovations.

In 2021, the IMOCA Class will establish new rules of measurement including the environmental aspect. The first step is to know and analyze the ecological footprint of the activity (construction, mobility, energy, communication, etc.) in order to target the margins of maneuver and to be able to reduce its footprint effectively. Thanks to this approach, the IMOCA Class is anticipating future legislative constraints linked to the reduction of the impact of human activities, particularly industrial activities.

In addition, IMOCA boats are real laboratories that inspire a wider market ranging from yachts to merchant ships. In order for the maritime world to evolve towards a more environmentally friendly way of operating, it is essential for the IMOCA Class to contribute to and put into practice sustainable innovations that can be transferred to other sectors of activity.



life cycle analysis

© Pierre BOURAS

The life cycle analysis (LCA) allows to quantify the environmental impacts from the manufacturing to the end of life of products through 6 indicators.

1 - Global warming potential (kgCO2e)

2 - Mineral resource scarcity

3 - Energy consumption

4 - Water consumption

5 - Marine eutrophication

6 - Waste generation

Since 2021, the Class rules mention the obligation to set up a life cycle analysis for any new boat or new part construction.

Therefore, when a new IMOCA boat is announced, the Class will contact the team and the shipyard concerned. Data collection will initially focus on the construction of standard parts as well as the platform (decked and structured hull), mast, keel bulb, boom, rudders and foils.

The objective is to gather comparable data to quantify the impact of transportation, material, human and energy resources used in the construction of these parts.

Created thanks to the support of 11th Hour Racing, this tool will allow to identify ways to improve the environmental impact.


green sail

© Jari Salo / Sailing Images

By 2023, the IMOCA fleet will be required to carry one of the eight 'green' sails allowed in the IMOCA Globe Series Championship races. This measure will be voted on in April 2021 at the Class General Assembly and is one of the concrete actions that should push the industry to focus more on designing more sustainable products.

Some technologies already exist, such as those developed by OneSails. This company has patented 4T FORTE technology to build high-tech sails that are both high-performance and environmentally friendly. 4T FORTE sails are the only sails in the world to be ISO 14040 certified for life cycle assessment and, unlike all other sails, they are 100% recyclable at the end of their use.

4T FORTE is a flexible composite of 22 layers, each with a specific function. These sails are fully recyclable because all the elements of the structure are made of the same molecule, PE (polyethylene). In addition, the sails are constructed in one piece, eliminating the glue and mylar film that are currently a concern during recycling.

In 2020, Pip Hare and Ari Huusela were able to test OneSails during the Vendée Globe.


onboard energy

© Alexia Barrier

The IMOCA boats create energy through the power of the water, the wind or the sun. Since 2012, the skippers have been trying to reduce the use of diesel fuel, which is used during the race to recharge the batteries and to propel the motor in dangerous situations. Even if the engine is mandatory for eventual problems (assistance, serious damage, breakage of other energy sources), its use remains limited.

In 2020, 90% of the fleet will be equipped with hydrogen generators. These propellers, developed by Watt&Sea, a company founded by Yannick Bestaven, have revolutionized energy management on board. Although less used, other energy production systems exist, such as solar panels (increasingly efficient) and wind turbines.

By 2024, the goal is for 100% of the fleet to be able to be self-sufficient in energy during the Vendée Globe.