VPLP designs will be making a lot of noise this autumn. While some of the firm’s designs are waiting for a favourable weather window to make another record-breaking attempt, and others are setting out for Brazil in the coming days, new ones are on the drawing board and on the stocks… Vincent Lauriot-Prévost and Quentin Lucet give us the latest news.
Four new VPLP designs for the Ultim class of ocean-racing trimarans are currently in the spotlight. Macif and François Gabart are waiting to take a pop at Thomas Coville’s record, while Spindrift and her crew under the command of Yann Guichard will soon be making a new bid for the Jules Verne Trophy. “Launched ten years ago, she has been modified on numerous occasions to improve performance, such as acquiring t-rudders and foil winglets, and she has been lightened too,” says Vincent Lauriot-Prévost. “Let’s not forget that, only two years ago against Idec on the very same course, she regularly came out on top in terms of speed. The potential is there.” As for Sodebo, the next objective is the Transat Jacques Vabre: “On paper, she’s from a previous generation but she’s got something that her opponent hasn’t: all her technical niggles have long been sorted out.”
The big event for the firm this autumn is the imminent launch of Banque Populaire IX. “We’ve retained the same righting moment as for Banque Populaire VII (formerly Groupama III and now Idec), although we’ve optimized all the other aspects, focusing in particular on mass and drag,” says Vincent. “The idea is to exploit the advantages of hybrid mode, that is to say, to fly early and be competitive when not flying.” The entire boat was designed and drawn by VPLP, with assistance from Gsea Design for the structural calculations and in collaboration with the Banque Populaire team.
Ciela Village, the first of two Multi50s designed by VPLP, went into the water on 4 October in Port-la-Forêt (Brittany), just one month before the start of the Transat Jacques Vabre. We were running to a tight deadline. “She seems to have turned out well,” says Quentin Lucet, who manages these projects at VPLP design. “On her very first outing she beat the previous Ciela’s speed record!” Ciela Village was built by CDK for Thierry Bouchard and is the first Multi50 to be designed specifically for foiling. “This meant we had to rethink our approach to hull shape and platform rigidity,” adds Quentin. “We paid unprecedented attention to protecting the cockpit and belaying area.”
Of the six Multi50s taking the starting line of the Transat Jacques Vabre, three are VPLP creations and four are equipped with one-design foils designed by the firm and Romaric Neyhousser. Elsewhere, Thibault Vauchel-Camus’s VPLP-designed trimaran is entering the assembly phase at the Enata yard in Dubai.
Of the thirteen IMOCAs signed up for the Transat Jacques Vabre, seven were designed by VPLP-Verdier – in particular the foilers and the winner of the Vendée Globe, now sailing for Bureau Vallée. A notable presence in the running is the indestructible Generali, formerly Safran. She was the first VPLP-Verdier design, launched back in 2007.
Boats on the stocks include the new Charal for Jérémie Beyou. “The hull mould has been delivered to CDK. We reworked the concept considerably in order to integrate the foiling capability into its shape,” says Quentin Lucet. “We are currently putting the finishing touches to a pioneering type of structure in collaboration with Gurit.” Also, discussions are continuing on the affordable IMOCA project which the firm launched in the summer in association with CDK and Antoine Mermod.