This morning was a truly memorable moment for our whole team: after almost 24 months of tireless research, development and construction, we are proud to reveal the hull shape and cockpit design of our brand new race boat: the first in a new generation of IMOCA 60s.
How do you build a boat capable of winning the most challenging offshore race in the world, while inspiring action within the marine industry to adopt sustainable innovations for boat building?
When our team was founded in 2019, we set ourselves the ambitious goal of tackling this very question and making it a core component of our campaign.
Almost two years later, we celebrated a huge milestone by revealing our brand new IMOCA 60 – with the working name of ‘11.2’ – in Port-La-Forêt, France.
Designed by naval architect Guillaume Verdier and his studio, built at CDK Technologies with performance and analysis by MerConcept, it was definitely an emotional moment to see the boat roll out of the shed. The result of thousands of hours of work, split between different continents and a multitude of people involved, its first appearance in the outside world became even more vivid when a huge rainbow lit up the dusky sky of Brittany – as if Mother Nature sent her very own welcome!
After the keel was put on at CDK Technologies, the IMOCA 60 will move to MerConcept in Concarneau, where the foils will be fitted alongside other finishing touches. A first race appearance is scheduled for this year’s Défi Azimut, shortly after the boat’s official naming ceremony in mid-September.
Over the next weeks, we will share regular status updates as well as a series of short films and features giving more insights into our new IMOCA 60’s unique design, artwork, and innovation process.
The boat’s colorful livery, created in collaboration with two of Italy’s leading designers – Marco and Stefano Van Orton – and France’s Jean-Baptiste Epron – will be unveiled in full when the boat sails for the first time at the end of August.
In the meantime, here is a low-down on the inspiration, ideas, and cumulated team effort behind the project.
The first of its kind
Where IMOCA 60s are traditionally designed for the typical downwind course of the solo Vendée Globe, our new boat has been optimized for the broader range of conditions expected in The Ocean Race, which will cross the equator four times in the 2022-23 edition.
Featuring an entirely closed cockpit design, the boat allows up to five sailors to live and work under the protection of its cover for the majority of time spent offshore. Thanks to its innovative shape, the cockpit provides near-360 degree visibility, further enhanced via a refined auto-pilot, navigation system, cameras, and marine mammal deterrence system.
Skipper Charlie Enright was excited about the launch: “We’ve designed a version of the IMOCA 60 that no one has ever built before. Our boat should be able to withstand the toughest conditions in the most remote corners of the world, but is also able to compete in various shorthanded configurations. To build an all-around-performer like this, we have worked with the best in the trade: Guillaume Verdier as the lead naval architect, the technical and performance experts at MerConcept, and the build team at CDK Technologies.
Running this project during a global pandemic was definitely a challenge, however, one constant never changed: putting sustainability at the center of the whole process.
Informing for the future
Striving to inspire action within the marine industry and beyond, we have sought to set a benchmark for boat building innovations by utilizing alternative materials like flax for hatches, interior and deck panels, and implementing sustainable practices by building this IMOCA 60. This also included stakeholder working groups and supply chain engagement, along with a highly analytical life cycle approach while supporting the creation of new IMOCA Class sustainability rules.
Damian Foxall, the Sustainability Program Manager here at 11th Hour Racing Team, explained more about this sustainability-first approach:
“You can’t manage what you can’t measure – and what you can’t measure, can’t be improved. This is why we have executed a full Life Cycle Assessment over the course of the build process, in order to determine the environmental impact of the different components and procedures.
Sharing our findings with the rest of the industry, from boat builders to sailors to race organizers, is an essential part of our mission, in order to inform the future and push the paradigm shift we urgently need. We have only 8 years left to meet the requirements of the Paris Agreement to reduce our impact by 50%. Business as usual is no longer an option.”
Inspiring to take action
Supported by our title sponsor 11th Hour Racing, our core mission is to inspire other teams, race organizers, and marine businesses to take action by starting their own sustainability journey.
“The marine environment is harsher than any other, even outer space; the salt, wind, sun, and incredible force of water work to corrode, break down, or tear apart everything onboard,”
noted Jeremy Pochman, co-founder and CEO, 11th Hour Racing.
“If the sustainable materials used in building the Team’s new IMOCA can survive these conditions, then it’s clear we can use such materials in less demanding boats, and the advances could ripple out through other industries that deal with far less harsh environments. This is a remarkable milestone as we work to change the narrative around sustainability in the marine and maritime industries, and in everyday life.”
Find out more about 11th Hour Racing here.
Stay tuned for a lot of exciting stories around 11.2 dropping soon!