11th Hour Racing Team reveals its new IMOCA 60: “We want to win the Ocean Race”
With the new IMOCA 60 by 11th Hour Racing Team, performance meets sustainable innovation
After two years of research, development and construction, 11th Hour Racing Team has revealed its new IMOCA 60, the first vessel of a new generation designed for competition in ocean races, with a full crew, in doubles or solitary. Created by the design studio, Guillaume Verdier and built by CDK Technologies, the new IMOCA 60 unites sporting performance with sustainable building practice and the latest technology.
On Saturday 7 August, the vessel left the CDK Technologies shipyard in Port-la-Fôret, France, in transfer to the MerConcept facility in Concarneau for the addition of the foils and other details. The boat’s colourful design, created in partnership with the Italian designers, Marco and Stefano Schiavon from Van Orton Design and the French designer, Jean-Baptiste Epron, will be revealed at the end of August, when the boat sets sail for the first time.
The IMOCA 60s are traditionally designed for the Vendée Globe (world race in solitary), but the new boat for 11th Hour Racing team was enhanced to be able to face the widest range of weather conditions to be encountered during the Ocean Race (world race with a team), which, during the 2022-23 edition, will cross the equator four times.
Characterised by its fully enclosed cockpit, the new IMOCA 60 allows the sailors to live and work safely on board when they are in open seas. In addition, thanks to its innovative shape, the cockpit has nearly 360-degree visibility, further improved by a latest generation autopilot, the navigation system, cameras and a dual sighting and warning system for sea mammals. Over the next few weeks, they will also reveal the results of two years in designing the foils, tested both using a simulator and on the team’s first IMOCA 60, known as the 11.1.
This vessel stands out as a point of reference for innovation, both in its use of alternative materials (like linen) and its hatches, interiors and deck panels, as well as the use of sustainable practice. “We have designed – says the skipper Charlie Enright, enthusiastically – a version of the IMOCA 60 that nobody has ever built before. Our boat should be able to resist even the most difficult conditions in some of the most remote areas of the world, but it can also compete in a number of different configurations with a reduced crew.”
“In order to build an all-round boat like this one – notes Enright – we worked with some of the best talent in the field, Guillaume Verdier as our main naval architect, the technical and performance experts at MerConcept and the construction team at CDK Technologies. Managing this project during a global pandemic was certainly a challenge, but there is one constant that never changed, sustainability at the heart of the entire process.”
Damian Foxall, sustainability program manager for 11th Hour Racing Team, better explains this approach centred around sustainability. “You cannot manage – he says – what you cannot measure, and what cannot be measured can’t be improved. This is why we carried out a full audit on the life cycle during construction, so as to determine the environmental impact of the different components and procedures.”
“Based on these tests – adds Foxall – we can find different ways to reduce our impact, like substituting highly polluting materials with new alternatives, reducing single-use elements, streamlining our supply and work chain and perfecting the shape of the boat itself, making it more energy efficient.”
“Sharing what we have discovered with the rest of the boating industry, from builders to sailors and race organisers – notes Foxall – is an essential part of our mission, to provide further information in the future and to accelerate these urgently needed changes. We only have 8 years left to fall in line with The Paris Accords in order to reduce our impact by 50%. Business as usual is no longer an option.”
Duration was a crucial factor in reducing the overall environmental impact of the boat, without, however, compromising its performance and safely. Adaptable to races with a reduced and complete crew, in its current configuration, the vessel can race with a maximum of 5 sailors. The racing programme includes the next Défi Azimut (in doubles with a non-sailing onboard reporter), the Transat Jacques Vabre (in doubles) and the Ocean Race 2022-23 (four sailors and an onboard reporter).
“Winning the Ocean Race – says Mark Towill, CEO of 11th Hour Racing Team – is our main objective. These last few months have been huge group effort, that has brought together many different stakeholders throughout the world in order to build a boat that is completely different from anything that this class has seen before. We have challenged the status quo and aimed at doing so in the most sustainable way possible, sharing what we have learned with the entire boating community. We are all extremely proud to see the boat leave the yard and we are incredibly grateful to everyone for their hard work.”
Supported by the sponsor, 11th Hour Racing, the team is trying to inspire the actions of other teams, race organisers and the entire boating industry, creating a path to sustainability. “The marine environment – explains Jeremy Pochman, co-founder and CEO of 11th Hour Racing – is harder than any other, including space. The salt, the wind, and the incredible strength of the water work together to corrode and break all the components on board.”
“If the sustainable materials used during the construction of our IMOCA can survive in these conditions – concludes Pochman – then we can use these same materials on boats that undergo less stress, and the progress can be shared with other industries, who work in far less difficult environments. This is a milestone in our project for the change in the narrative of the boating and shipbuilding industry, just like in everyday life.”
In view of the baptism ceremony of the new IMOCA 60, planned for 13 September, the 11th Hour Racing Team will distribute content including videos and photos, explaining in detail the singular design of the boat, the art process and the innovative processes used.