In 2019, as the Solitaire URGO– Le Figaro celebrates its fiftieth anniversary, the Figaro Bénéteau 3 will take over from its predecessor, the Figaro Bénéteau 2, which has been sailing the length and breadth of the French and Atlantic coasts since 2003.
This Figaro Bénéteau 3 was developed jointly by the Bénéteau Group, with the Class Figaro, OC Sport, the organiser of the Solitaire URGO- Le Figaro and Le Figaro group. Penned by naval architects Van Peteghem – Lauriot-Prévost, whose designs won the last two Vendée Globes and are likely to be on the podium for the 8th edition, the latest of the Class Figaro one-designs is in safe hands.
“The challenge of the brief we were given“, naval architect Vincent Lauriot-Prévost explains, “was to create a boat that performs well and is as reliable as the Figaro Bénéteau 2. We worked extensively with the specialists from Bénéteau Group to design a hi-tech boat in terms of both manufacturing materials and processes.”
Foils, a mast stepped further aft and a high-performance hull
The first prototype is entering the build phase and will be ready to be launched over the course of the summer 2017. It has been established that the Figaro Bénéteau 3 will come under design category A under ISO/World Sailing.
She will wear foils, but also a high-performance hull below the waterline that is free of ballast tanks, with a narrower and lighter keel, a mast stepped further aft and a more generous sail plan. VPLP affirm that if a foil were to break in a collision, it wouldn’t damage the boat’s structure.
In contrast to the Foils on the Imoca60, the latter will have an inward-facing profile as Vincent Lauriot-Prévost explains. «The versatile foil we’ve created provides more than just the dynamic power and vertical lift that is sought after in Imoca. We’ve designed it in such a way that it creates as little resistance as possible in the light airs and reduces leeway at full speed.»
The hull below the waterline
Made of foam sandwich, glass fibre and polyester resin, it is in line with current designs. The most significant change is the disappearance of the ballast tanks.
Deeper, with a narrower keel fin, it will generate less drag. This will be accompanied by the reduction in leeway created by the foils.
Mast and sail plan
As is the case on the Imoca60, the mast is stepped further aft, which enables the incorporation of more high-performance sails and a bowsprit is attached. The solo sailors will sail with a fathead mainsail, a genoa and of course a jib, as well as a masthead spinnaker (measuring 105mq) and, to seek out speed in the light airs, a small gennaker.
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