Vincent Riou's new Open 60 was launched yesterday 7/9/06

Vincent Riou’s new Open 60 PRB was launched yesterday in France.

After nine months of building work PRB was launched and underwent an 180° capsize test yesterday – a compulsory safety procedure for all the IMOCA class boats.

PRB – with the help of a crane and belts fixed to the bulb – was turned over until the deck was in the water. Riou, aboard at the time, had to right her. According to the latest test report, the boat was upright within a few seconds. Commenting Riou said: “I’m relieved the test went smoothly. It’s a delicate operation. Fortunately, we only have to do this test once. Everyone did very well and things went as planned. It’s great!”

The boat’s first sea trip will commence tomorrow when Riou takes PRB to Bénodet to begin fine tuning in the run-up to the Route du Rhum which starts in October.

Chatting about the new boat and her design specification Riou added: “Overall, she’s a fairly classic boat. The difference is in the detail, in the way various parts have been fitted to make PRB what she is.

“I don’t believe at all that I have done anything revolutionary, but there were some fundamental technical choices to consider. For example, I have chosen a wing mast with outriggers. The faster the boat, the more important the aerodynamic qualities. That’s what led me to choose the wing mast. I wanted the deck area to be better protected. That was the watchword, while at the same time I wanted to keep things as simple as possible. There are not a lot of deck fittings on PRB, and I don’t think she could be any simpler. As for the rest, for the shape of the hull and the appendages, I looked elsewhere for advice and was guided in my choices by the Farr design team.”