Hull No. 1 of a new solo canting keel one-design. But who'll go for it?


Another new Open 60 emerges from the shed? No, not this time, though from the hull shape you could be forgiven for thinking so.

This is hull no. 1 of a new round the world one-design race being taking from JMV Industries in Cherbourg for fit-out at V1D2 in Caen. It’s a lookalike Open-style 50-footer for solo sailing, neatly fitting into the size range that has become extinct in the all the big ocean races. The carbon canting keeler was designed by Groupe Finot, with input from top sailor Michel Desjoyeaux, so the similarity to a 60 isn’t too suprising.

The SolOceans race will run round the world from France in 2009, stopping only in New Zealand. It’s the idea of Yvan Griboval, who has title sponsorship from waste management company Véolia, and the thinking behind it is to create a new race that is more affordable than the Vendée Globe.

The sum of ?1 million charters you the boat, sails and all the gear, the skipper’s salary, insurance, the comms budget and guarantee media exposure.

Who’s in so far? No-one we know – yet. I love the idea of a one-design race even if, for obvious reasons, skippers, designers and the marine industry don’t. But sailors as jockeys, openly salaried and captive to a race organiser? On this side of the Channel, they’ll be needing a new crop of solo sailors for that concept.