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Buckie Lugger

IMOCA 60 Proposed Rule Changes

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I've just picked up the latest issue of Seahorse after a few weeks away from home, and there's a very interesting article by Merfyn Owen about the proposed rule changes that IMOCA are looking at bringing in.

 

No one's mentioned this, and I know that there are more than a few Open 60 geeks around here, so here's a précis of it.

 

It sounds like IMOCA has, in principle, agreed to three proposals to guide future rules and technical developments:

 

(1) Limit the power of the boats

 

There appears to be four areas under investigation:

  • Limit rig height to 28 to 29 metres.
  • Limit bulb weight to a figure that wouldn't affect the majority of the fleet. Merf doesn't give any exact numbers that are being considered, but suggests 3,200 kg as being in the ballpark.
  • Limit water ballast to two centreline tanks: 2,000 kg forward of the mast, 1,000 kg aft.
  • An increase in the worst case AVS.

(2) Limit the complexity of the boats

 

Suggestions include:

  • Banning trim tabs and interceptors.
  • Banning curved daggerboards.
  • Banning halyard locks.
  • Banning lifting rudders.
  • Limits on outboard sheeting.
  • Reducing the number of sails that can be carried.
  • Limits on the grades of carbon used in the mast.

Merf acknowledges that classes with relatively simple rules (e.g. the Minis and IMOCA) have tended to flourish and adapt, so there is need for a balance.

 

(3) No Grandfathering

 

The new rules won't allow the existing fleet to be grandfathered. Furthermore, they're intended to be in place by the 2010 Barcelona World Race.

 

Merf says that most of the fleet, with the exception of two boats (Pindar is explicitly mentioned, and I'm guessing Artemis Ocean Racing 2 is the other) could be converted. He also suggests allowing existing boats to have until 2011 to become class compliant.

 

I can see why there was a bit of an upset in the class.

 

The class chairman (Jacques Guilbaud) and executive director (Gregoire Metz) have both resigned recently, and I'm guessing that this has got something to do with it. Dominique Wavre is currently the stand-in as the president.

 

Metz sounded like a fantastic choice to run the class (fluent in several European languages, and having a broader background than the French sailing scene), and I think that his loss is going to be keenly felt.

 

Given a major refit on an IMOCA is 750K euros and upwards, then that would eliminate all of the older boats at once as it wouldn't be cost effective to rework them. (Buy a boat for 300K, spend more than that on rebuilding it.) So a potential side-effect would be in the short term the fleet becomes smaller and more professional.

 

And, yeah, that's been a point of disagreement between myself and a couple of other posters. It looks like I might be on the losing side of that argument. But it does mean that the average team will have a bigger budget, which is a funny result for a cost cutting exercise.

 

It would also mean a massive increase in costs for teams looking at running their existing boats for 2012, or heavy depreciation for those who want a new one.

 

Either way, it doesn't look clever to be doing this at a time when the global financial system appears to be melting down, and most of the major sailing nations are in or heading into a recession.

 

Politically, banning newly constructed boats by two big sponsors strikes me as being completely brain dead. Pindar don't seem that wedded to an Open 60 campaign, and Artemis haven't had a good ride so far, so both could easily call it a day. And given comments by both Golding and Desjoyeaux that Pindar is the fastest of the 60s, it could be misconstrued that building a better mousetrap is no longer welcome in what is seen as a development class.

 

How do I think that this will affect the class? Without the changes, I would expect the 2012 Vendée to be more like 2004 than 2008, as there'll be less sponsorship money available during a recession. So a lot of boats from the previous race, with a few new ones, and probably a number of 2000 and 2004 designs for the smaller teams.

 

With the changes, the picture could be quite different.

 

For the biggest teams it'll be business as usual. I suspect that they'll be the only ones building new boats for the 2012 Vendée, so they'll lose on the resale of their 2008 model, but save on building the new ones.

 

The mid sized teams will be hit harder. If they can't afford a new boat then they'll have to spend a substantial amount upgrading their current one. I suspect that this will be the position for much of the fleet.

 

The small teams could be wiped out. The old Finots will need more spending on them to meet the new class rules, and there won't be any cheap, legal used boats.

 

I think that the class needs to keep a place for them. Allowing Clipper Ventures' Eco 60 class to run as an official B division in IMOCA races for the next cycle would allow smaller teams to take a run at the Vendée whilst a secondhand market develops. Alternatively a Class 60 (a bigger Class 40) could be developed for these teams.

 

Thoughts anyone?

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I am no expert in IMOCA politics, but i know how business works... it does seem like a very strange move indeed, from an ROI standpoint, after everybody has just spent so much... I guess they should have amended the rules in that way two years ago rather than now!

 

Now that the damage is done (Pindar, AO2, etc), would it not be wiser to allow the current boats with no new rules until 2012 included, while publishing in the coming months the next rule (2013 et sq).

Such a rule could then be even more drastic and address all safety and cost concerns, after most of the current "middle class" boats are economically amortized for the sponsors.

In parallel, a vintage division for "adventurers" and "low class" sailors could emerge as you're suggesting, maybe with additional requirements such as fixed keel etc.

 

C.

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I don't know what the problems are with sport as I have no inside knowledge on Imoca what so ever. How ever I wonder what the purpose of the class is. If they can increase exposure (outside France/Britian), then bigger budgets can be justified. How ever if they become too much like a class 40 (or start to compete with sol oceans), then they will loose part of the appeal which is, the pinnacle of ocean yacht racing an adventure/technical sport/arms race.

 

In my opinion they should drastically change the format (racing calender), and bring it to the 21st century. I think they are better off sailing around the world like the volvo ocean race, with many stops in different regions. I don't understand why they do not race around the world over 8-9 months (with 8-12 stops), with a stop every 2 weeks (with 2 week break). The fact is the class deserves its own regatta series (like TP52 Med cup). In the 4th year they can shorten the calender and run the Vendee nonstop around the world as a special highlight that takes place once every 4 years. The current format is a joke imo. Far too few races, and it sucks that the races are not mandatory, which results in only 50% or less of the boats participating. The only reason I am interested in the race, is because of my interest in singlehanded sailing. How ever with the sporadic Imoca events, I find it hard to follow and stay up to date.

 

The Barcelona world race is a joke in its current format. You either have no stops, or many stops (to build a larger audience). But the current format is disappointing with allowed pit stops. Lets not foreget that dual handling just does not sell as well as sailing solo in 60 foot beasts around the world. The only good thing about Barcelona was the way they had the fanfare at the docks and around the boats. The way Imoca presented themselves to the locals was brilliant, imo.

 

I want to see Riou, Josse, Loick, Desjoyeaux and all the rest battle it out frequently in the Imoca class. They spend all this money on the boats and it seems like 80% of a year these things are on the drydock in the middle of nowhere.

 

Right now the boats are practically built specifically for the Vendee, and all races are just preparation races for the Vendee or qualifiers. That is the problem with Imoca. They need to build something outside the Vendee globe. Or have the race once a year, than the boats would see more use, and questions like budget and resale value will become secondary.

 

As for the changes proposed. I think big teams will still find loop holes to out invest smaller teams in critical areas. I am for a overall weight minimum, and agree with a keel maximum weight. How ever I just think that they are fixing the wrong end. An Imoca campaign is becoming too expensive to be just about the Vendee globe. Hit a container and you are out of the race, and get to wait 4 years to do it again. All the money wasted for nothing.

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Non stop is the attraction for the French, stopping is pussies... part of the legend.

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I heard all the propsed changes were rejected at an EGM last month.

 

You are correct.

Only one rule has made it : number of sails has been limited to 9 (IIRC).

 

The president has resigned because the proposals were rejected.

 

One has to understand that there's a lot of politics going on within the class, because it is actually managed by the skippers.. No one has shown the ability to see the big picture, yet. Instead, each team (of group of teams with converging interests) is trying to make sure that the boats they're scared of gets struck hard by the rules change.

 

That should explain why the guys with the older, less powerfull recent boats are trying to cut the other guys' wings...

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I don't know why they are so worried about Pindar & AOR. Even if they are faster in some conditions, they will either give it away in other conditions or simply break.

 

Those that push the envelope too far will discover on their own where they overshot. The current rules keep the boats quite safe (albiet expensive), so "let the market correct itself".... :P

 

Just for the heck of it, check out how wide Pindar is compared to the new Ecover:

 

post-597-1222077816_thumb.jpg

 

Lets see if Brian can keep the rig up! While I wish him the best, I have my doubts... :(

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I don't know why they are so worried about Pindar & AOR. Even if they are faster in some conditions, they will either give it away in other conditions or simply break.

 

Those that push the envelope too far will discover on their own where they overshot. The current rules keep the boats quite safe (albiet expensive), so "let the market correct itself".... :P

 

Just for the heck of it, check out how wide Pindar is compared to the new Ecover:

 

post-597-1222077816_thumb.jpg

 

Lets see if Brian can keep the rig up! While I wish him the best, I have my doubts... :(

 

Controlling costs by constraining the boat design rules almost never works. Using building rules (process and materials) works some of the time and operation rules (number of sails, other operational bounds) work better. But, wherever racing competition heats up, mini, class 40, IRC, IMOCA, Farr 40, or TP 52, money always follows. Yes, even one design. It just means the money that is spent makes a smaller difference in terms of real or relative performance.

 

Safety is another matter. There will always be those who are prepared to take greater risk to win. I think the IMOCA rules have addressed this exceptionally.

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Controlling costs by constraining the boat design rules almost never works. Using building rules (process and materials) works some of the time and operation rules (number of sails, other operational bounds) work better. But, wherever racing competition heats up, mini, class 40, IRC, IMOCA, Farr 40, or TP 52, money always follows. Yes, even one design. It just means the money that is spent makes a smaller difference in terms of real or relative performance.

 

Safety is another matter. There will always be those who are prepared to take greater risk to win. I think the IMOCA rules have addressed this exceptionally.

 

Couldn't agree more.

 

IMOCA has always set safety goals, and never imposed the means to comply to them. That is definitely the way to go, and shouldn't be changed : You want more safety ? Set the goals higher, and let each team/designer choose how to do it.

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Chimp and RedFlag - thanks for the update on the politics of the IMOCA situation. There's not been much news about what's been happening behind the scenes.

 

If Golding and Desjoyeaux are right about Pindar, then they really should be scared of Safran. Both claim that their boats are more focused on weight saving and ease of use than the average 60, but Safran is a further step down that evolutionary scale.

 

But having seen VPP results for a round the world course, I agree with Haji that these things even out around the globe.

 

I agree with SYDE that safety is good in the class. The old Hugo Boss is the only boat to have been lost at sea in recent years, and serious accidents are thankfully rare.

 

Something that no-one's mentioned is that several ORMA teams have moved into the IMOCA class. If they're still running at ORMA levels of cost, then it's not surprising that the game's become more expensive.

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Something that no-one's mentioned is that several ORMA teams have moved into the IMOCA class. If they're still running at ORMA levels of cost, then it's not surprising that the game's become more expensive.

 

I can see two teams with a strong connection to ORMA :

Foncia, who have a reasonnable but not very high budget

Gitana, who probably have one of the top budgets. (Highest budget is Safran)

 

And yes, those are two very serious players...

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Guillemot crossed over from the ORMA circuit too, but I can't remember who his previous sponsor was.

 

Wasn't it Biscuits La Trinitaine? I think he also spent some time with the Gitana taem.

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Kalumder has a good point in saying that the boats aren't raced often enough. IMOCA has tried to go this route of having exclusive races and personally I think that is a waste of time. Many of the races the Open 60s participate in aren't exclusive but those are often the most followed races and with the demise of the ORMAs the IMOCAs are usually at center stage. Also most IMOCA races are usually point-to-point in format. I think it should be a principle to have return races like the Ecover B2B was for the TJV. For example it was a waste to have so few of the IMOCAs in the Quebec- Saint Malo at the very least they could have arranged a competitive Transatlantic record attempt for the boats. Doing long distance (often short handed) races isn't expensive and the exposure isn't expensive. I would not suggest that the boats do any inshore racing and there should be limits on crew size for any crewed race so that the boats don't lose the short handed focus but I think more races would be better. There might also be the effect that if the boats had to race more often then they'd be driven toward better reliability since teams could not afford to have the boats in the shed for major overhauls all the time else they'd miss races.

 

Regarding the rules article by Merfyn Owen I was surprised because even though I knew that people were talking about making the changes I didn't realize there was anything concrete coming out of it.

- From his article I was most in favor of the rule regarding the AVS because it seems based on what he said that even though the class has an AVS requirement that the boats have in fact become more unstable over time. Also I'm a big fan of saying WHAT needs to be don't not HOW it needs to be done as that is more "open".

- I do think that the amount of water ballast and the number of tanks it is carried in should be limited as it seems as though this is an area where all/most of the new boats have gone far beyond the prevous generations in terms of complexity to the point where water ballast is compromising the amount and usability of the interior room in the boats.

- Foils, except rudders, should only be allowed one degree of freedom of operation so that pitch adjustable daggerboards would be disallowed for example. I exempt rudders to allow for kicking up as I don't think it should be disallowed. Also I'm not a huge fan of the trim tabs and interceptors because while they might make for safer operation when they are an optional design feature like on the Farr's where the underlying design has to be fairly safe without it but you can see some designer using these features allow an unsafe hull to be controlled and then you can imagine the catastrophe when the system fails or there is user error...

- I can see outboard sheeting as an approach to making better use of limited number of sails and the implementation is usually simple so I can't see the big deal. Plus eliminating outboard sheeting could be construed as eliminating fairly conventional devices as whisker poles, spinnaker poles and reaching struts.

- I do think that some of the things regarding rigs need to be looked at like Pindar's deck spreaders which I've variously heard to be telescoping and/or having hydraulically adjustable stays etc. These types of rig shenanigans sound like a bad idea on a short handed boat.

- IMOCA needs to specify required non-destructive testing/inspections on critical areas of the boat such as keels and canting keel support structure and mechanisms and masts.

 

I'm not really surprised that the rule changes were mostly voted down because I think the view from many of the sailors, particularly the veteran ones, is that the competition should sort out the over-reaching designs. Plus a lot of teams are on long term sponsorship deals and there probably is a fear that if the rules are changed right now to require a significant, unexpected outlay before the 2012 Vendee that either sponsors would drop or not re up. Fact is the IMOCA fleet since the rewrite of the rules around the turn of the century are probably the safety class of blue water ocean racing boats by any measure and even with the extremity of some of the new designs I don't really think you're likely to see wholesale carnage a la the ORMA fleet in the next cycle of races. I think that issues that will occur in next Vendee will be mostly attributable to sailor inexperience as there are some green sailors sailing some powerful tricky boats.

 

Bucky BTW I'm living in Southampton now, down near Ocean Village. I need to know where is the local sailing, shit talking hangout is...

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- From his article I was most in favor of the rule regarding the AVS because it seems based on what he said that even though the class has an AVS requirement that the boats have in fact become more unstable over time. Also I'm a big fan of saying WHAT needs to be don't not HOW it needs to be done as that is more "open".

- I do think that the amount of water ballast and the number of tanks it is carried in should be limited as it seems as though this is an area where all/most of the new boats have gone far beyond the prevous generations in terms of complexity to the point where water ballast is compromising the amount and usability of the interior room in the boats.

- Foils, except rudders, should only be allowed one degree of freedom of operation so that pitch adjustable daggerboards would be disallowed for example. I exempt rudders to allow for kicking up as I don't think it should be disallowed. Also I'm not a huge fan of the trim tabs and interceptors because while they might make for safer operation when they are an optional design feature like on the Farr's where the underlying design has to be fairly safe without it but you can see some designer using these features allow an unsafe hull to be controlled and then you can imagine the catastrophe when the system fails or there is user error...

- I can see outboard sheeting as an approach to making better use of limited number of sails and the implementation is usually simple so I can't see the big deal. Plus eliminating outboard sheeting could be construed as eliminating fairly conventional devices as whisker poles, spinnaker poles and reaching struts.

- I do think that some of the things regarding rigs need to be looked at like Pindar's deck spreaders which I've variously heard to be telescoping and/or having hydraulically adjustable stays etc. These types of rig shenanigans sound like a bad idea on a short handed boat.

- IMOCA needs to specify required non-destructive testing/inspections on critical areas of the boat such as keels and canting keel support structure and mechanisms and masts.

 

If you don't mind, I'll comment on some of these points :

- Regarding AVS : As I said earlier, I'm with you, that's the way to go.

- Water ballasts : The new boats are actually no more complicated than a few generations ago : Fixed keel boats often had 4-5 tanks per side. Current canting keel boat have 3-4 tanks per side, and most have a very simplified piping, because, well... piping is heavy. Water ballast tops also provide a very nice, flat surface on which to walk and move sails.

- Appendages : I'm still quite convinced that the tabs are illegal. The fact that they've been accepted because they are "appendages" is far-fetched at best. But that's what you get when a rule, written some time ago in a certain spirit (safety in the case of IMOCA), but not as precisely as it could have been, is taken to the letter by the newcomers (Farr for instance). The problem is that appendages are neither defined, nor limited in number. But their mouvement IS limited to one axis (one rotation OR one translation). Except in two cases : single, central daggerboards can be rotated and lifted. Rudders can be lifted, too.

- Outboard sheeting : now that's pure nonsense from Mervin Owen : When a skipper chooses a wing mast with deck spreaders, it is natural that he'll be using the spreaders for sheeting. Then why should one prevent a boat with a classical mast from seeking the same advantage ? Same for rudders. I don't care that Merf dislikes them (or he would have installed them on his boats). They can make all the difference between keeping on racing and giving up. IIRC more than 50% of last Vendee's breakage was fixed rudders hitting a floating debris.

- Rigs : The rule says the mast must remains in the centerplane of the boat. In my opinion, that more or less forbids systems like Pindars first rig. They said it was only to adjust the rake, but in fact, since you also have to adjust the forestays, it is more or less mandatory that the mast leaves the centerplane, even for a limited period of time. The system's failure has also proven that simplicity is the key to reliability.

- Non-destructive testing is carried out extensively by the teams, already.

 

One needs to remember that the skippers and their teams are usually not a bunch of irresponsible amateurs (although some lack basic engineering skills). They all know the skipper's life is at stake. They also know that shit happens...

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All more or less reasonable changes except for the lifting rudders which are suggested to be banned.

 

Perhaps it is my lack of engineering skills but aren't lifting rudders a fail break when bumping into a large mammal like a whale or a Baskin Shark or a container. Since the canting keel doesn't provide a protection for these obstructions just beneath the surface?

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Please pardon the non sequitur, but what is an intercepter?

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Please pardon the non sequitur, but what is an intercepter?

Thank you for asking, i felt too shy to ask as i thought my ignorance was only due to my poor english language skills...

 

C.

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Please pardon the non sequitur, but what is an intercepter?

 

 

Thank you for asking, i felt too shy to ask as i thought my ignorance was only due to my poor english language skills...

 

C.

 

an adjustable flap at the back of the boat

"..Typically on power boats and ships, this device comprises a vertical plate, fitted to the transom, that drops down an inch or so (depending upon the size of the vessel) and is used to dampen pitching, but as Tom Weaver, newly moved over to the 'dark side' of the power boating world, informed us, is also in some cases used to improve lateral stability..."

 

here is a picture of Paprec Vibrac, you should be able to see it that the back part can be lowered/raised

http://www.jpdick.com/p-jpdickcompubfr/ima...469_640x451.jpg

 

here is a picture of the effect it causes

http://www.madforsailing.com/ism/articles....aa?OpenDocument

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Why screw with a rule that is enjoying so much success??

 

Initially, many skippers were worried the IMOCA could suffer an "ORMA syndrom", because of exploding costs. Which isn't a totally unfounded concern, BTW...

 

So they started talks about ways to reduce costs.

 

But it all degenerated into a battle around the power of the boats, and the alleged safety problems that come with it. In fact it's mostly the fear that Pindar could just outdate all other designs. Which I don't think will happen, BTW...

 

The cost issues have been long forgotten... The limits porposed today, if they ever get voted, will only make the boats more expensive.

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an adjustable flap at the back of the boat

"..Typically on power boats and ships, this device comprises a vertical plate, fitted to the transom, that drops down an inch or so (depending upon the size of the vessel) and is used to dampen pitching, but as Tom Weaver, newly moved over to the 'dark side' of the power boating world, informed us, is also in some cases used to improve lateral stability..."

 

here is a picture of Paprec Vibrac, you should be able to see it that the back part can be lowered/raised

http://www.jpdick.com/p-jpdickcompubfr/ima...469_640x451.jpg

 

here is a picture of the effect it causes

http://www.madforsailing.com/ism/articles....aa?OpenDocument

No. Virbac is equipped with a trim tab (or flap).

Yes. Ecover 3 has an interceptor.

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an adjustable flap at the back of the boat

"..Typically on power boats and ships, this device comprises a vertical plate, fitted to the transom, that drops down an inch or so (depending upon the size of the vessel) and is used to dampen pitching, but as Tom Weaver, newly moved over to the 'dark side' of the power boating world, informed us, is also in some cases used to improve lateral stability..."

 

here is a picture of Paprec Vibrac, you should be able to see it that the back part can be lowered/raised

http://www.jpdick.com/p-jpdickcompubfr/ima...469_640x451.jpg

 

here is a picture of the effect it causes

http://www.madforsailing.com/ism/articles....aa?OpenDocument

 

These are two different things.

 

Paprec and Gitana 80 have flaps which are hinged surfaces which can be either flush with the hull or at an angle to it.

 

Ecover and Aviva have a sliding plate (parralel to the transom) which can either be retracted in the hull or protruding in the water .

 

Only the later one is an interceptor.

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- Appendages : I'm still quite convinced that the tabs are illegal. The fact that they've been accepted because they are "appendages" is far-fetched at best. But that's what you get when a rule, written some time ago in a certain spirit (safety in the case of IMOCA), but not as precisely as it could have been, is taken to the letter by the newcomers (Farr for instance). The problem is that appendages are neither defined, nor limited in number. But their mouvement IS limited to one axis (one rotation OR one translation). Except in two cases : single, central daggerboards can be rotated and lifted. Rudders can be lifted, too.

You may have a point regarding the legality of trim tabs but my guess is that there is no good definition for "appendage" either thus leaving a humongous loophole to drive thru. Of course since the rule is "open" you don't have to ask for a technical interpretation before building the boat (a la the America's Cup) you just build it then it's a fait accompli and nobody else will want to ban you in case you try to ban one of their ideas in the future.

 

- Non-destructive testing is carried out extensively by the teams, already.

 

One needs to remember that the skippers and their teams are usually not a bunch of irresponsible amateurs (although some lack basic engineering skills). They all know the skipper's life is at stake. They also know that shit happens...

 

I assume that is true but given some of the failure in keels particularly fabricated keels leads me to believe that maybe it is done at the time of manufacture and not necessarily ever again. The Class should require keels to be at least ping and dye penetrant (or what ever is the equivalent for carbon keels) tested yearly.

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Sorry for the mix up, and thank you for correcting me.

 

So which is faster? :D

 

 

According to the article in Dailysail, it is really not faster, just sort of stabilizes the boat downwind a bit better...in a nutshell.

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I remember a few posts by Hugh Welbourn in the forums (where's he when you need him? :)) saying that it's possible to use trim tabs as a replacement for water ballast. In fact, it was something that was proposed to the Volvo Ocean Race technical committee.

 

However, both the Farrs and Owen Clarke designs seem to be using them in conjunction with water ballast to provide another gear.

 

The legality of trim tabs has been questioned by some (including Mich Desj) as they sit in a hollow at the stern. Since hollows (i.e. the boat being concave in the lateral cross section) are banned under the IMOCA rule, the hull shape is said to be illegal. The tab itself doesn't violate any rules as far as I know. Please correct me if I'm wrong RedFlag.

 

Incidentally, the same argument may well apply to the spray rails on the Farr 60s.

 

Speng, I believe that the teams test the keels regularly. Paprec-Virbac's keel was found to be cracked after her delivery back from New Zealand, and Ecover 3's was found to have problems during a post-race checkover. The problem is that keels have a habit failing far sooner than they should.

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Initially, many skippers were worried the IMOCA could suffer an "ORMA syndrom", because of exploding costs. Which isn't a totally unfounded concern, BTW...

I'd agree with that being a possibility. I don't think that the sport gets sufficient media coverage to justify the current budget levels, so the individual teams will have to depend on corporate hospitality to give their sponsors a good return.

 

But it all degenerated into a battle around the power of the boats, and the alleged safety problems that come with it. In fact it's mostly the fear that Pindar could just outdate all other designs. Which I don't think will happen, BTW...

Straying slightly off-topic, which boat (or boats) do you rate? And why don't you think that Pindar will dominate?

 

I personally like Safran's approach the best (ease of use and power-to-weight through lightness) though I think that either Loick Peyron or Mich Desj has the best overall package.

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You may have a point regarding the legality of trim tabs but my guess is that there is no good definition for "appendage" either thus leaving a humongous loophole to drive thru. Of course since the rule is "open" you don't have to ask for a technical interpretation before building the boat (a la the America's Cup) you just build it then it's a fait accompli and nobody else will want to ban you in case you try to ban one of their ideas in the future.

 

 

 

I assume that is true but given some of the failure in keels particularly fabricated keels leads me to believe that maybe it is done at the time of manufacture and not necessarily ever again. The Class should require keels to be at least ping and dye penetrant (or what ever is the equivalent for carbon keels) tested yearly.

 

 

Speng ,I can assure you that keels are tested at least once a year and in a much more sophisticated way than just dye penetration.

The class has even gone, since last June, as far as starting to build a data base of keels natural frequencies at various times, to check if they may loose their properties after a number of racing miles.

 

The latest numerous keel swaps, including a number for carbon just illustrate that faith in fabricated steel as a proper way of making keels has just vanished. Too many unknown factors or risks, I would say (but I hv always be biased against them)

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Of course since the rule is "open" you don't have to ask for a technical interpretation before building the boat (a la the America's Cup) you just build it then it's a fait accompli and nobody else will want to ban you in case you try to ban one of their ideas in the future.

 

You're right. And unfortunately, I think this is one of the biggest problems the class is facing at the moment. Some technical details have been accepted that should never have, just because it is not possible to change the boats once they're built. Things that everyone wanted to do but refrained to because it was against either the spirit or the letter of the rule. Things like the emergency exit in the cockpit (instead of the transom, thanks to Farr and Riou), or hull hollows around the keel (thanks to Juan K), etc...

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The legality of trim tabs has been questioned by some (including Mich Desj) as they sit in a hollow at the stern. Since hollows (i.e. the boat being concave in the lateral cross section) are banned under the IMOCA rule, the hull shape is said to be illegal. The tab itself doesn't violate any rules as far as I know. Please correct me if I'm wrong RedFlag.

 

Incidentally, the same argument may well apply to the spray rails on the Farr 60s.

 

You're right. But since even the hollow they sit in is an add-on to the hull, they say it is all an appendage. Of course, you have to break the epoxy bonding to remove the add-ons, which is totally impossible without damaging it or the hull. That's not an appendage IMHO.

 

The spray rails may be OK, since their lower face is horizontal: The rule says that the depth of the hull shall not get smaller as you move closer to the centerline. They're still ugly though ;)

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You're right. And unfortunately, I think this is one of the biggest problems the class is facing at the moment. Some technical details have been accepted that should never have, just because it is not possible to change the boats once they're built. Things that everyone wanted to do but refrained to because it was against either the spirit or the letter of the rule. Things like the emergency exit in the cockpit (instead of the transom, thanks to Farr and Riou), or hull hollows around the keel (thanks to Juan K), etc...

 

I thought the boat's full drawings had to be sent to the technical committee (for stability calcs) prior any measuring session, which IMHO is a problem as the Tech Com head is a competitor.

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Straying slightly off-topic, which boat (or boats) do you rate? And why don't you think that Pindar will dominate?

 

IMHO, these boats need to be light and powerfull. Safran is light but not powerfull. Pindar is powerfull but heavy.

 

Mich and Loïck seem to be the logical favorites, but I think the Finot's are under-rated. There's little doubt Hugo Boss would have won the Barcelona if they hadn't had their rudder problems. They displayed impressive speed.

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I thought the boat's full drawings had to be sent to the technical committee (for stability calcs) prior any measuring session, which IMHO is a problem as the Tech Com head is a competitor.

 

No, no. Just the "basic" hull, deck, keel and rudder shapes are sent to the chief measurer, who is not a competitor.

 

Vincent Riou being head of the technical comitee is a problem in other circumstances, though. You know, impartiality and all...

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No, no. Just the "basic" hull, deck, keel and rudder shapes are sent to the chief measurer, who is not a competitor.

 

Vincent Riou being head of the technical comitee is a problem in other circumstances, though. You know, impartiality and all...

 

OK, so: just what's needed for the calcs, still it gives some nice insight to some ;)

 

Again its a classic "who should run a class ?" problem: competitors run classes have shortcomings, not as much as designers run classes though (R.I.P IOR)

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I for one would loose interest if they restriced the class.

 

Imoca should focus more on expanding the market for these boats, aussie asia and the us come to mind. i've done a couple of short two hande races down under and would love to see these thing (even the old ones taking part) most boats down here are nomal racers with an auto pilot added.

 

some small crewed races would be good also, eds atlantic challenge comes to mind, and maybe some inshre races with a couple of lacal ameuters would be great.

 

i'd like two see a single handed start line for the syd-hob, run every second year with standar divisions, mini, class 40 and open 60.

the avs might be able to be teaked but is not as imprtant with a self righting rule (should be standart for all offshore/ocean races along with bulckheads) i'd like to see bowsprits a bit longer, same as on ORMA 60 as i belive the ones on the class 40 are longer the the current open 60's. and maybe change list angle from 10 degress to 12.5

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I don't know if there are boats I rate as much as sailors... Fuzzy and Loick have been kicking ass ever since they've gotten into their boats and of course JP Dick won the BWR and Seb Josse in BT has shown good pace so that might indicate the Farr boats are on form but then there are other Farrs, some of which have been in the water awhile and so should be proerly sorted. I'm referring to Brit Air and Delta Dore which have shown pace but have spent some time in the shop.

 

Bilou and JlC in their tricked out Lombards cannot be counted out because of who they are. I think these boats were a notch above the other boats in the last Vendee pacewise but they were unreliable then. I think these guys will be fully comfortable with their boats now and will be able to sail them really hard.

 

I don't think the Owen-Clarke's have the sailors to get on the podium - Golding and Wavre notwithstanding. You could say the same of the Finots but there are some fairly decent sailors in them and AT is my darkhorse if he doesn't break the boat.

 

I think that Guillemot (Safran) and KdP (Groupe Bel) are both good and certainly Guillemot showed well in the TJV but after his initial lead which was due to him having the cojones to take an inshore shortcut thru some islands in the middle of the night I think the boat showed a lack of pace in the power reaching conditions in the trades where she was overhauled I think due to pure boat speed. You win (or at least get on the podium) down the Atlantic so power reaching is a big deal.

 

On sheer power Pindar is probably the leader. I've heard she has more righting moment than an old VO70 and Brian Thompson is not a nobody but harnessing the boat and reliability are likely to be a problem given his lack of time on the boat. If it hadn't had a fucked up mast/rig (allowing them to get more miles in) it could have been a favorite but right now it is firmly in the dark horse category.

==========

Spray rails have been in for awhile considering that Ocena Planet had those famous "lips" in the last race.

 

regarding fabricated keels relative to cast ones you'd expect the cast ones to be stronger. My understanding is that they are less fatigue resistant due to the welding. I used to work in the gas tuirbione industry and the fabricated GT cases had to be more stringently and regularly inspected than the cast ones even though the material was stronger and there were operationalt restrictions as well. For some materials (e.g. the super high test steel they use for submarine hulls) welding may have very little effect of fatigue properties but the welding is of otherworldly quality and the steel is not easy to find...

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I don't know if there are boats I rate as much as sailors... Fuzzy and Loick have been kicking ass ever since they've gotten into their boats and of course JP Dick won the BWR and Seb Josse in BT has shown good pace so that might indicate the Farr boats are on form but then there are other Farrs, some of which have been in the water awhile and so should be proerly sorted. I'm referring to Brit Air and Delta Dore which have shown pace but have spent some time in the shop.

 

Bilou and JlC in their tricked out Lombards cannot be counted out because of who they are. I think these boats were a notch above the other boats in the last Vendee pacewise but they were unreliable then. I think these guys will be fully comfortable with their boats now and will be able to sail them really hard.

 

I don't think the Owen-Clarke's have the sailors to get on the podium - Golding and Wavre notwithstanding. You could say the same of the Finots but there are some fairly decent sailors in them and AT is my darkhorse if he doesn't break the boat.

 

I think that Guillemot (Safran) and KdP (Groupe Bel) are both good and certainly Guillemot showed well in the TJV but after his initial lead which was due to him having the cojones to take an inshore shortcut thru some islands in the middle of the night I think the boat showed a lack of pace in the power reaching conditions in the trades where she was overhauled I think due to pure boat speed. You win (or at least get on the podium) down the Atlantic so power reaching is a big deal.

 

On sheer power Pindar is probably the leader. I've heard she has more righting moment than an old VO70 and Brian Thompson is not a nobody but harnessing the boat and reliability are likely to be a problem given his lack of time on the boat. If it hadn't had a fucked up mast/rig (allowing them to get more miles in) it could have been a favorite but right now it is firmly in the dark horse category.

==========

Spray rails have been in for awhile considering that Ocena Planet had those famous "lips" in the last race.

 

regarding fabricated keels relative to cast ones you'd expect the cast ones to be stronger. My understanding is that they are less fatigue resistant due to the welding. I used to work in the gas tuirbione industry and the fabricated GT cases had to be more stringently and regularly inspected than the cast ones even though the material was stronger and there were operationalt restrictions as well. For some materials (e.g. the super high test steel they use for submarine hulls) welding may have very little effect of fatigue properties but the welding is of otherworldly quality and the steel is not easy to find...

 

I think you relate to my post on fabricated keels: two remarks as I have been involved too in fabricated steel structures - not as a technician but as one responsible in case of flaws -

 

- If I don't like them, it's because they are a complicated hollow structures working in salt water.

Complicated means a significant length of welds (the longer the welds the higher the risk) + a non homogeneous part (both in stifness and material) where the rotating pins are.

Salt-Water is always a problem, as it can end being unwillingly trapped inside the hollow part leading to a guaranteed problem, but also as electrolysis problems are very prone to happen in any saltwater environment and M Golding hinted something about it.

 

- I have also watched, closer than most people, submarine-hulls welding and problems do happen even there, despite the stringent procedures.

Now we will see on that one, as Marc Thiercelin got a keel in that material, orbital-welded by the nuclear submarines builders (his sponsor)- Now I note he has already got a new keel too (in I don't know what) six months only into the campaign.

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post-597-1222077816_thumb.jpg

 

Did you guys realize that if you measure the picture, Pindar is about 6.8m wide if Ecover is 5.6m ?

When JK communicated on 6.4m, everyone was like "No f#*%ing way". Seems like it was only the tip of the iceberg...

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I've just picked up the latest issue of Seahorse after a few weeks away from home, and there's a very interesting article by Merfyn Owen about the proposed rule changes that IMOCA are looking at bringing in.

 

No one's mentioned this, and I know that there are more than a few Open 60 geeks around here, so here's a précis of it.

 

It sounds like IMOCA has, in principle, agreed to three proposals to guide future rules and technical developments:

 

(1) Limit the power of the boats

 

There appears to be four areas under investigation:

  • Limit rig height to 28 to 29 metres.
  • Limit bulb weight to a figure that wouldn't affect the majority of the fleet. Merf doesn't give any exact numbers that are being considered, but suggests 3,200 kg as being in the ballpark.
  • Limit water ballast to two centreline tanks: 2,000 kg forward of the mast, 1,000 kg aft.
  • An increase in the worst case AVS.

(2) Limit the complexity of the boats

 

Suggestions include:

  • Banning trim tabs and interceptors.
  • Banning curved daggerboards.
  • Banning halyard locks.
  • Banning lifting rudders.
  • Limits on outboard sheeting.
  • Reducing the number of sails that can be carried.
  • Limits on the grades of carbon used in the mast.

Merf acknowledges that classes with relatively simple rules (e.g. the Minis and IMOCA) have tended to flourish and adapt, so there is need for a balance.

 

(3) No Grandfathering

 

The new rules won't allow the existing fleet to be grandfathered. Furthermore, they're intended to be in place by the 2010 Barcelona World Race.

 

Merf says that most of the fleet, with the exception of two boats (Pindar is explicitly mentioned, and I'm guessing Artemis Ocean Racing 2 is the other) could be converted. He also suggests allowing existing boats to have until 2011 to become class compliant.

 

I can see why there was a bit of an upset in the class.

 

The class chairman (Jacques Guilbaud) and executive director (Gregoire Metz) have both resigned recently, and I'm guessing that this has got something to do with it. Dominique Wavre is currently the stand-in as the president.

 

Metz sounded like a fantastic choice to run the class (fluent in several European languages, and having a broader background than the French sailing scene), and I think that his loss is going to be keenly felt.

 

Given a major refit on an IMOCA is 750K euros and upwards, then that would eliminate all of the older boats at once as it wouldn't be cost effective to rework them. (Buy a boat for 300K, spend more than that on rebuilding it.) So a potential side-effect would be in the short term the fleet becomes smaller and more professional.

 

And, yeah, that's been a point of disagreement between myself and a couple of other posters. It looks like I might be on the losing side of that argument. But it does mean that the average team will have a bigger budget, which is a funny result for a cost cutting exercise.

 

It would also mean a massive increase in costs for teams looking at running their existing boats for 2012, or heavy depreciation for those who want a new one.

 

Either way, it doesn't look clever to be doing this at a time when the global financial system appears to be melting down, and most of the major sailing nations are in or heading into a recession.

 

Politically, banning newly constructed boats by two big sponsors strikes me as being completely brain dead. Pindar don't seem that wedded to an Open 60 campaign, and Artemis haven't had a good ride so far, so both could easily call it a day. And given comments by both Golding and Desjoyeaux that Pindar is the fastest of the 60s, it could be misconstrued that building a better mousetrap is no longer welcome in what is seen as a development class.

 

How do I think that this will affect the class? Without the changes, I would expect the 2012 Vendée to be more like 2004 than 2008, as there'll be less sponsorship money available during a recession. So a lot of boats from the previous race, with a few new ones, and probably a number of 2000 and 2004 designs for the smaller teams.

 

With the changes, the picture could be quite different.

 

For the biggest teams it'll be business as usual. I suspect that they'll be the only ones building new boats for the 2012 Vendée, so they'll lose on the resale of their 2008 model, but save on building the new ones.

 

The mid sized teams will be hit harder. If they can't afford a new boat then they'll have to spend a substantial amount upgrading their current one. I suspect that this will be the position for much of the fleet.

 

The small teams could be wiped out. The old Finots will need more spending on them to meet the new class rules, and there won't be any cheap, legal used boats.

 

I think that the class needs to keep a place for them. Allowing Clipper Ventures' Eco 60 class to run as an official B division in IMOCA races for the next cycle would allow smaller teams to take a run at the Vendée whilst a secondhand market develops. Alternatively a Class 60 (a bigger Class 40) could be developed for these teams.

 

Thoughts anyone?

 

 

Though maybe the right thing to do, the boat design is about pushing the limits of physical and sailing ability. They should make a decision on the whole rule change after the vendee, when they can accurately see how the new boats fair in the southern ocean. The breakage so far in the new boats are inevitable as all the skippers said.

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it's a big risk to change the rules that have worked so well for so long. if you look at simular things done in motorsport it has actually killed the class in many examples.

 

I think they should go the other way and modenise the rule this way

 

IMOCA open classes 40 50 and 60 should cheange the static heel limit to 12, 12.4 and 12.5 degrees restpectively and bowsprit lengths to 2.4, 2.5 and 2.75m. (reason it is 2m on the class 40 and currently only 1.89 on an open 60, and 2.75 on and ORMA 60,) also I'd change it so all appendages can move in two dimensions (currentl only rudders and centerline daggerboards can do so. I'd get rid of sail restrictions as it is a double edge sword (the more you have the more specialised each one is and the more you have to change them and move them around, increasing fatige) instead limit the number per year. this would mean if you had few onboard you could relpace the "set" more often as opposed to others. mabye have a higher number for older boats?

 

other than that i's leave everything else as is as it's working fine especially the way it treats hollows.

whta do you think, guys?

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This slipped my radar, a non -compliant Foncia?

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/mor...icle5120161.ece

 

"Michel Desjoyeaux, the Frenchman who won in 2000-01 and the favourite this year, was at the centre of controversy last night. The Times has learnt that Foncia, his new boat, had been denied a certificate by the IMOCA, the class association for Open 60 boats. A row with the race organisers has been rumbling on secretly for three weeks.

 

Desjoyeaux has devised a clever pully method of adjusting his spinnaker and Rene Boulaire, the IMOCA’s chief measurer, judged it illegal. But organisers said that there is no chance of an appeal against Foncia if Desjoyeaux wins because the international race jury has confirmed the boat.

 

Where does that leave the IMOCA and would it now issue a certificate? “That is a question for IMOCA,” Christophe Bouchet, the communications manager, said. But the IMOCA would not comment when contacted yesterday. Wavre, the acting president, might normally have ruled, but he had his hands full."

 

anyone know if this has been resolved? the article is dated Nov. 10. I still think having a vendee either every year or once every 2 years is better. The boats need more round the world action for which they are built. All these transats are just fillers and dont really carry enough prestige to justify exploding budgets. Think of the amount of money that went into for example in the current Hugo Boss campaign. To have to wait another 4 years seems crude, especially since the boat "might" not be competitive by then anymore.

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I did point out to someone that Pindar came through the storm at the start of the Vendee better than some of the other designs, and so surely a heavy, powerful boat is the more seaworthy option. Which means that IMOCA are barking up the wrong tree. :D

 

There seems to be an opinion in the IMOCA class that there should be a big race every two years, and it sounds like the Barcelona World Race is intended to take this role. That's why it's been moved to the start of 2010.

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