A new IMOCA 60 and a 70ft trimaran to race round the world for the French star

So that’s what Michel Desjoyeaux is up to. And right enough, the plan codenamed F2014 is a very big project.

He will be racing a new IMOCA 60 round the world next year and, as I surmised in my earlier blog (here), taking part in the new Multi-One Design race in 2013/4. As for the ‘F’ that’s not for French team or anything else we were thinking of, it’s for Foncia, duh. The property management, letting management, rental and sales company are funding the campaigns.

Mich Desj confirmed it all yesterday at a press conference in Paris. A new VPLP/Verdier-designed IMOCA 60 is just getting underway at his brother Hubert’s yard CDK in Port La Forêt in Brittany. The plans for it were received on Monday.

This is a tight programme because his intention is to do the Route du Rhum race in November. Afterwards the boat will be coming back on a barge the race organisers are arranging for competitors who want to do the Barcelona World Race, the two-handed round the world race that begins on New Year’s Eve.

He did not say who he would be racing with, but he sailed with Jeremie Beyou on the Transat Jacques Vabre in November. Was their 4th place enough to tempt him to continue with his old Figaro mate? He’s not saying.

Maybe it’s no surprise that Mich wants to do the Barcelona World Race, because between now and the next Vendée Globe in 2012 the IMOCA circuit is short of big races – or at least races that are big in France, and after the Barcelona World Race there’s a sizeable hole in the calendar.

But he will not be doing the next Vendée Globe. After the Barcelona race, Mich will be returning to multihulls in a Multi One-Design, a 70ft VPLP design that will be racing round the world fully crewed in 2013/4. He’s always said his real love is multis, and at the press conference he explained:

“In all sports, there is an ultimate. In sailing, the ultimate is sailing on multiple hulls. Multihulls are spectacular, lively boats. The speed hits you immediately and draws you in, as does the sense of power. More care is required to drive these boats, which are more sophisticated, more demanding and at times dangerous… In short, they top the bill.”

As I blogged yesterday, this gives a tremendous shot in the arm to a race that could easily have been just another great idea. I am quite sure there’s a commercial angle to Mich Desj as the first entry and his massive endorsement.


The first of the MOD70s is also being part-built at CDK, to be launched later this year. Thereafter, another boat is planned to launch every three months, pending of course on other sailors and sponsors coming in.


And as my French colleague the astute Pierre-Yves Lautrou found out and reported in his excellent blog (here), Mich Desj has that covered, too: he has the right to withdraw if there are less than five boats by a certain date.

As for the deal, Mich told the press that the budget was around €3 million per year for the next four years, so it exceeds his previous project, though he says that the MOD 70 can be built and run for only 5% more.

I’m amazed that there’s more to be got from national sponsors in France at this time, but here’s the proof that they are still up for it. Foncia told those gathered that their sponsorship of Desjoyeaux had increased awareness of the company from one in four of the population four years ago to one in two today.

They cited as benefits ‘the increase in prestige after our victory in the Vendée Globe’ and said that the sponsorship had provided ‘the equivalent purchase of advertising space 10 to 15 times the initial investment.’