What you get when multihull and monohull designers collaborate



What do you get when multihull and monohull designers collaborate? Oddly enough, the answer is one hull.

Witness Safran, this new Open 60 for former multihull sailor Marc Guillemot. She is one of two new boats designed by VPLP, kings of multihull design, in collaboration with monohull specialist Guillaume Verdier. (The second is Kito de Pavant’s Groupe Bel, due to go in the water later this month.)

Why has a monohull won out? Simply because the market demands it. The IMOCA class is where the action, and the sponsorship money, is. VPLP’s traditional racing trimaran market is being decimated by IMOCA fever. It’s a case of ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’.

Hence the large batch of Open 60s destined for next year’s Vendée Globe that are launching, or have been launched this summer, for some of the most hotly tipped entrants. Safran was baptised in Le Havre at the weekend, though Guillemot has been out on the water testing since early August.

What makes these two boats really interesting is this marriage between the multihull experts and Verdier, a naval architect who cut his teeth at Groupe Finot and was involved in the late Nineties with boats such as PRB, Temenos (Mk 1), VMI and Group 4. You’d imagine that the design combination, refined by the input of two of France’s best sailors, ought to make something fast and structurally reliable. We’ll soon see.

Back in the UK, Mike Golding’s new Ecover has been shipped from Auckland and will get a royal baptism by HRH The Princess Royal at the Southampton Boat Show in two weeks’ time.