Beneteau Figaro 3
Beneteau has released what it says is the first one-design production foiling monohull ever. And it's going to race solo to add to the spectacle.
The Figaro Beneteau 3 is designed by naval architects Van Peteghem-Lauriot-Prévost and will compete in the Solitaire URGO-Le Figaro, a French solo yacht race run in legs, in 2019 when the event celebrates its 50th year.
Replacing the Figaro Beneteau 2, which has been sailing the length and breadth of the French and Atlantic coasts since 2003, the new foiler is said to be a stellar collaboration formed by the Beneteau Group, Class Figaro, OC Sport, and the organiser of the Solitaire URGO-Le Figaro.
Penned by naval architects Van Peteghem-Lauriot-Prévost, whose designs won the last two Vendée Globes with IMOCA60s, the brief was to create a boat that performs well and is as reliable as its predecessor. Beneteau says it gathered together the leading experts within its brands and its trades to design and build this latest iteration.
FOILS AND AFT-STEPPED MAST
The first prototype Figaro Beneteau 3 is now entering the build phase and will be ready to be launched and trialled over the course of the summer 2017. It has been established that the Figaro Beneteau 3 will come under design category A under ISO/World Sailing.
Along with foils, yes, the yacht as a more 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.
Designer Vincent Lauriot-Prévost explained that the “versatile foil we’ve created provides more than just the dynamic power and vertical lift that is sought after in the foiling IMOCA60s. 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.”
Made of foam sandwich, glass fibre and polyester resin, the hull deletes ballast tanks and adds a deeper, narrower keel fin for less drag. 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 square-top or fathead mainsail, a genoa and, of course, a jib, as well as a masthead spinnaker (measuring 105sq m) and, to seek out speed in the light airs, a small gennaker.
Gains in speed from the power of the hull and the contemporary sail plan should equate to around 15 per cent downwind.
BIG FEET TO FILL
Around a hundred Figaro Beneteau 2s have been built since 2003, which augurs well for this new third iteration. In order to optimise the manufacture of production boats, whilst adhering to the drastic criteria of the one-design, the French yacht builder has created a new Beneteau Racing Division Group.
The Beneteau Racing Division Group is a powerful signal of the company’s desire to forge ahead with innovation that is geared towards performance, the French boatbuilder says. A dedicated construction site has been put in place in Nantes-Cheviré (Loire-Atlantique), with 15 experts tasked with piloting and producing the Group’s future racing and regatta projects.
The first batch of 50 Figaro Beneteau 3s will launch at the end of 2018. At that point, the class will distribute them solely among members by ballot so as to retain sports equity. Clearly, foils are the future in competition sailing and peformance racers like this will head Down Under. But at this point, we have no idea about cost or that of a campaign. But a fleet of these solo foilers at Hammo would be something else again!
Specifications: Figaro Beneteau 3s
Hull Length: 9.75m
Waterline Length: 9.00m
Max Beam: 3.40m
Waterline Beam: 2.40m
Light Displacement: 2900kg
Mainsail Area: 39.5sq m
Jib Area: 30.5sqm
Large Spinnaker Area: 105sq m