The Figaro Beneteau 3 concluded its first season of racing on Saturday 14 September at La Trinité Sur Mer with the final leg of the Round Brittany Race. It had been a heavy schedule comprising the five events of the France Elite offshore racing championship, and marked by an outstanding Solitaire du Figaro. Vincent Lauriot-Prévost reviews the first year of the firm’s one-design foiler.
PEOPLE LIKE THE BOAT “Feedback on the whole has been positive: people like the boat and the crews are happy with her performance. There was a moment when we asked ourselves if we weren’t exaggerating her potential for opening up the field, but we weren’t disappointed. Figaro 3 showed us that she can hold trajectories suitable for breaking in the skippers, the very open courses helping too. She’s proving herself to be a great tool for the sailor’s trade.”
SCEPTICS WON OVER
“Of course, there was some scepticism when the boat launched, with some criticism of the foils and the quality of the general construction. We even put to sea with a foil missing so the skippers could check their efficiency! It was an uncomfortable moment, but the result was unequivocal and we heard no more about it… Gradually the skippers began to realize that, while a smaller boat, she outperformed the Figaro 2 on every point, sometimes 3–5 knots faster, wasn’t that expensive to buy, came in at the projected weight… We told them all that when we presented our project. Except for the trimmer on the keel, we stuck to our original proposal, and everybody did their job.”
ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT
“By the end of the year there should be a hundred or so boats on the water and of course there is room for improvement, but Beneteau follows up on every reported issue. The only really big problem is seaweed catching on the keel, which forces the skippers into the water too often. We need to find the solution. The angle of the keel is the only aspect of the design which is really open to criticism. And we could also make the companionway more watertight.”
“This winter Beneteau will be carrying out additional trials on our own Figaro 3. They’ll be fitting measuring instruments to the mast and the foils to explore all the issues that have been causing the yard and Sparcraft, the company which supplies the mast, a bit of a headache. We will also be trying out various types of chamfer on the trailing edges of the keel and the rudders to reduce noise at high speeds. We’re going to be learning a lot!”