Giancarlo Pedote's team have worked to install the latest generation foils on the IMOCA Prysmian Group. In addition to a change of foil size and shape, they are coloured red and green not just for port/starboard, but to match the colours of the Italian flag. The unveiling happened on 16th May 2023 in Lorient, Brittany.
Pedote believes the new configuration will have much greater potential, and looks forward to seeing this in the Rolex Fastnet Race later this month.
Few words (in french) of Guillaume Verdier (main naval architect of 11thHr, Holcim, Biotherm, and IMOCAs who won all the main races last four years), as quick reaction to these IMOCA's speed records.
A translation of the parts : “Oh sure, yes,” he says when asked if this new record can still be broken. “You mean in the state where the boats are today? Yes of course. The aerodynamics of these boats are quite 'basic' to be honest. There are still many things to do to improve them and this new record can undoubtedly be beaten." ... there is progress to be made, for example in the way boats go through the waves. "I'm not fully satisfied, they still slow down too much in the waves", he states.
... the French naval architect adds that possible future changes to the Imoca rules could allow the Imoca to reach even more remarkable speeds. "They can already be even faster with the current rules", he announces. "But if the rules evolved a little more and offered more freedom, we could make them fly permanently. Currently, it's still just "effleurage", which is quite good, but it's only 26 knots..."
It's hard to believe that a sailing boat can cover a total distance in 24 hours that would equate to travelling from Paris to Alicante in southern Spain, the home of The Ocean Race, but that is what Holcim-PRB has now done.
"Verdier added that possible future changes to the IMOCA rule, that might release even more power, could yet produce even more dramatic results on the racecourse. "Under the rule that they are selling today, they will be able to go further," he said. "But if the rule evolved a little bit more, with more freedom - for example, allowing (foils) on the rudder that would allow full flying all the time. What we are seeing now is skimming, which is pretty good - it's only 26 knots..."
Talking to Verdier - who designed not only Holcim-PRB, but Mãlama and Paul Meilhat's Biotherm - it is clear that he regards the IMOCA design process as still a work in progress in almost all respects.
And performance-wise, there are gains to be made, for example, in how the boats tackle big seas. "I am not fully satisfied, they slow down too much in the waves. I'm never fully satisfied," said Verdier.