Beneteau Unveils Figaro 3 & Creates Racing Division Group
Published: Wednesday, 04 January 2017
French shipbuilder Beneteau has launched the Figaro Beneteau 3, which is the result of the collaboration of Beneteau Group, the Class Figaro, OC Sport, the organiser of the Solitaire URGO- Le Figaro and Le Figaro group, with designs by naval architects Van Peteghem Lauriot-Prévost (VPLP), whose designs won the last two Vendee Globe.
(Photos: Beneteau - Figaro 3)
In view of the sale of around 100 Figaro Beneteau 2 since 2003, the Beneteau Racing Division Group was created for optimising the manufacture of boats adhering to the criteria of one-design. Its construction site was built in Nantes-Cheviré (Loire-Atlantique). This hub comprises around 15 experts and will also be tasked with piloting and producing the Group’s future racing and regatta projects. The Group will produce a first batch of 50 Figaro Beneteau 3 by the end of 2018. The Class will later distribute the models among members by drawing lots.
The one-design monohull will be highlighted in the Solitaire URGO – Le Figaro from 2019 for its 50th anniversary. She will take over from its illustrious predecessor, the Figaro Beneteau 2, which has been sailing the length and breadth of the French and Atlantic coasts since 2003.
“The challenge of the brief we were given,” naval architect Vincent Lauriot-Prévost explains. “Was to create a boat that performs well and is as reliable as the Figaro Beneteau 2. We worked extensively with the specialists from Beneteau Group to design a hi-tech boat in terms of both manufacturing materials and processes.”
The first prototype is entering the build phase and will be ready to be launched and trialled over the course of summer 2017. It will come under design category A under ISO/World Sailing.
She will come with 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. She will be as reliable as her predecessor. VPLP affirm that if a foil were to break in a collision, it would not damage the boat’s structure.
“The versatile foil we’ve created provides more than just the dynamic power and vertical lift that is sought after in Imoca60,” VPLP explain. “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."
The hull below the waterline is made of foam sandwich, glass fibre and polyester resin and is in line with current designs. The most significant change is the disappearance of the ballast tanks.
The keel will be deeper with a narrower keel fin so it will generate less drag. This will be accompanied by the reduction in leeway created by the foils.
“With this new Figaro Beneteau 3, we’re hoping to offer the fleet and those who are inspired to join us an exhilarating and more modern boat,” says Beneteau Head of the Class Figaro’s Measurement and Safety Committee Yoann Richomme, who won the Solitaire Bompard Le Figaro 2016. “Inevitably, after 15 years of offshore racing on the same boat, you get a little tired of it. As such, it was an opportune moment to make the move and, in so doing, get in touch with the status of science. It wasn’t about making the Figaro Bénéteau 2 vintage, rather it’s about bringing something innovative and visible to the fore.”