The IMOCA Open 60
IMOCA Open 60’s are one of the fastest classes of racing yacht – built in carbon fibre using the latest hi-tech structures, they are designed to be as light as possible (for speed) but strong enough to withstand the worst the seas can throw at them.
They are designed from the outset to be sailed just one person with few creature comforts aboard. The boats have keels which “cant” to the windward side and water ballast to compensate for the lack of weigh of other crew members to drive the boat forwards.
On board the skipper is fully occupied driving the boat, constantly changing and adjusting the sails and auto pilot, repairing equipment and sails, and between 10 minute snatches of sleep, putting in crucial “brain time” interpreting weather data at the navigation work-station. This is the boat’s nerve system, packed with electronics and computer equipment to help navigate, monitor race performance, and communicate with sponsors and race management.
The boats have a variety of different sails to suit various conditions – not as many fully crewed race yachts, but enough to keep the solo skipper working hard all the time matching sail plan to wind and sea conditions for maximum speed.
There are three types of sails – a mainsail, headsails on furlers (rolled up around the stays) and a spinnaker which flys from the bowsprit. The sails and the 60 foot length hull are outstanding, unique branding platforms for team sponsors – providing dramatic imagery and video footage.
Built for top speed and performance, the boats have tight safety rules governed by the IMOCA class association, which require the boat to right without the assistance of waves by the skipper taking some action to turn the boat over.
The IMOCA Open 50
The IMOCA Open 50 is the open 60’s smaller sister: though loads, speeds, and budgets are lower, the challenge of racing an Open 50 around the world is just the same as for the Open 60.