When Bernard Stamm asked us to design his new IMOCA 60 and after the experience of Pindar, it was clear that a good assessment of weight and righting moment was required to conclude in a good design. Because power comes with extra weight, a single handed IMOCA has to be designed for the capacity to use such power by the skipper and the trade off of being light in the transitions, downwind and in light airs.
So, we looked at both extremes of weight and power allowed by the rule as well as the 2 types of possible rigs [deck spreader wing mast and classic multiple spreader]. It is clear for me that an IMOCA should be designed completely around her skipper and his/her capacity to use the boat so we asked Bernard to give us his best representation of capacity to use the boat depending on wind speed and angle.
For example, One could easily argue that in medium/light conditions a single handed skipper can use 100% of the boat’s potential. But in heavy air, downwind this is not the case, particularly if One considers the possibility of damage. The question then becomes what is that potential, is it 90% or as low as 70%. If 70% then the trend is towards less powerful and light boat and vice-versa the greater the potential. This table was used to condition all simulations that allowed to conclude in all decisions taken. She proved to be very fast in most conditions although I wish she could have been lighter in some systems. She led the Vendee Globe several times and remained in the front pack until she had to stop for electrical repairs which cost the disqualification of the race. She finished her life when sailed into one of the worst storms of the last decades and hit by a rogue wave, snapping her bow in an area where the aluminum core had been dramatically damaged by an electrical related corrosion.
2011-2012 VOR: coming from the success of the previous 2 editions, the intention was to continue with Ericsson and keep building from the strong platform that was created. However, this approach encountered strong opposition by the race organizers who thought this would discourage other teams from entering the race. Rules were changed against 2 boat campaigns and exclusive designs so we were forced to work with more than 1 team.