In refit since December, Fabrice Amedeo ’s monohull is undergoing a complete transformation as she’s equipped with C-shaped foils. Acquired from the team at Alex Thomson Racing whose shore crew is helping to install these new appendages, which are a lot bigger than her original 2016 generation foils, the boat’s speed and versatility will be boosted. The skipper of Nexans – Art & Fenêtres and his team are absolutely thrilled with this development with a view to the next Vendée Globe.
Vendee Globe 2024: Staying Out on the Racetrack
For offshore racing stables, now’s the time to start preparing for the round the world race. For Team Nexans – Art & Fenêtres, the plan to transform Fabrice Amedeo’s 60′ monohull – launched in 2015 and kitted out with V2 of the small foils acquired in 2016 – took shape in the summer of 2021. “Fairly early on, I realised that there were a lot of boats in build for the Vendée Globe 2024“, explains the skipper. In fact, 13 new IMOCAs will likely be at the start of the next round the world race in addition to the eight 2020 generation boats. That equates to 21 IMOCAs with large foils, to which we must add the older generation boats previously transformed like those skippered by Romain Attanasio and Arnaud Boissières. “Of the 35 or 40 boats at the start, we would have had at least 25 which had the potential to be quicker than us. As a result, upgrading Nexans – Art & Fenêtres was a must to stay in the running“, explains Fabrice Amedeo.
A Pragmatic Approach
Convinced of the merits of this new project, the skipper of Nexans – Art & Fenêtres has two ideas to mull over: to find the most reliable and efficient solution possible and to study the feasibility of reusing existing foils. “I wanted to try to have a ‘plug and play’ project. Ideally, I would use existing foils, or in any case a design already in existence, in a bid to bypass a huge labyrinthine system with the development and architects, because I’m not an engineer and we didn’t have the relevant in-house skills at the time.” At that point, Fabrice Amedeo got in touch with Michel Desjoyeaux. “I kind of approached it as I would have when I was a journalist. I asked him: “if you had to make a boat that was heavily geared towards the next Vendée Globe, what would you do?” Without a moment’s hesitation, he replied that he’d put C-shaped foils on her for several reasons.“
1/ Retractable foils. “We can bring them in when conditions become dangerous or in zones where there are a lot of whales for example, explains Fabrice. It’s a fantastic safety feature.”
2/ Adjustable foils. “It’s not ON or OFF. You can use 100%, 80%, 60% of the foil according to where you want to strike a balance, which is really interesting in terms of performance.”
3/ Very quick foils in downwind conditions. “Often, certain boats stop flying once they go beyond 135 degrees to the wind. With these foils, we’ll be able to slip along a bit further downwind and continue to fly”, concludes the skipper.
All of these advantages are particularly appealing for a race like the Vendée Globe where downwind is the predominant point of sail. Equally, the long course, which passes through some very hostile zones like the Deep South, requires greater versatility than in transatlantic races.
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