IMOCA 60 goes full crew

11th Hour Racing Team has launched its new IMOCA 60 in Concarneau, France – the first to be designed with fully crewed racing in mind.

11 August 2021


11th Hour Racing Team has decided to do something no one has done before, and the results of that decision – and 24 months of design, development and construction – finally emerged on 9 August at the CDK Technologies yard in France. It was hard to miss, too, thanks to a striking colour scheme created by Italian designers Marco and Stefano Orton and Frenchman Jean-Baptiste Epron.

From the board of naval architect Guillaume Verdier, this is no ordinary IMOCA, and every aspect has been rethought due to the stated intention of the team – to meet the broader range of conditions experienced in The Ocean Race and to race with a full crew, rather than the solo downwind style racing of the Vendée Globe.

“We’ve designed a version of the IMOCA 60 that no one has ever built before,” said skipper Charlie Enright. “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 centre of the whole process.”


In addition to the hull, cockpit and interior design, two years-worth of research into foil design and testing in both simulator and on the team’s first IMOCA 60 will be realised when the boat takes to the water at the end of August 2021. The innovations go further too, with sustainability a key element. This includes using alternative materials such as flax for hatches, interior and deck panels, and implementing sustainable working and supply chain practices. It has all been done while supporting the creation of IMOCA Class sustainability rules.

“You can’t manage what you can’t measure – and what you can’t measure, can’t be improved,” explained 11th Hour Racing Team’s Sustainability Manager, Damian Foxall. “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. Based on this evidence, we can work out different ways to reduce our impact, such as substituting highly-polluting materials with new alternatives, reducing single-use elements, optimising our supply chain and internal operations, and refining the boat’s actual shape to make it more energy-efficient.

“Sharing our findings with the rest of the industry, from boatbuilders to sailors to race organisers, 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 percent. Business as usual is no longer an option.”

The schedule for the boat is certainly varied, and currently includes the Défi Azimut (raced double-handed with a non-sailing onboard media crew member), the Transat Jacques Vabre (double-handed), and The Ocean Race 2022-23 (four sailors and one sailing onboard media crew member).

“Winning The Ocean Race is our ultimate goal,” said Mark Towill, CEO of 11th Hour Racing Team. “These past months have been a huge collaborative effort, connecting a multitude of different stakeholders across the globe to build a boat that is completely different from what this Class has known so far. We are challenging the status quo and aiming to do it as sustainably as possible and sharing these learnings with the wider marine community. We are all extremely proud to see the boat leave the shed and are incredibly grateful to everyone for their hard work.”


11th Hour Racing Team

  • Advertisement

  • Advertisement

  • Advertisement