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The New Safran Emerges

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  • The New Safran Emerges

    On Thursday, February 5 at 1730hrs (French time) at the CDK boatyard in Lorient, Safran, the new IMOCA 60 skippered by Morgan Lagravière was launched for the first time. After a year of construction in Port-La-Forêt and then Lorient, the VPLP-Guillaume Verdier-designed boat, the first of the new generation of 60ft boats built for the 2016 Vendée Globe, has been unveiled to the public.

    The launch of a boat is always loaded with emotion, especially when it includes significant technological developments. “2014 has been a year of transition for me, I immersed myself in the construction of my boat, while dreaming of the time when I could get into the optimisation and competition phase,” Morgan Lagravière, skipper of the new Safran, said. “Now, I can’t wait to sail this boat, and that moment is almost here.”

    A long-term project, now realised
    Since 2013, the Safran Sailing Team and the architects Guillaume Verdier and Vincent Lauriot-Prévost, have been working on this project to create an innovative boat with maximum performance, which responds to the new IMOCA rules. Safran has a powerful hull with foils (designed to support lift to relieve the hull on downwind angles and thus gain speed), a rotating wing mast set further back, a deeper and lower cockpit and a pronounced front section of the hull. “The new rule, which requires all boats to have the same keels and the same masts (wing or classic but standardised), was ultimately not a constraint, but probably a way to innovate again,” Lagravière said. “For my part, I worked especially on the cockpit. The two transats I did onboard the first Safran gave me experience.”

    Marc Guillemot, skipper of the first Safran, had a major role in the development of the new IMOCA 60, and was able to bring his rich experience of more than thirty years of competitive sailing on all the world’s seas. “It was two years of hard but really rewarding work,” Guillemot said on this important occasion. “I think the design of the new Safran would not have been the same if it hadn’t been inspired by my experiences. I remember having lots of discussions in the last Transat Jacques Vabre. I’m very pleased to have been part of this project.”

    The launch of the beautiful, sleek 18.28m long and 5.80m wide Safran, which wears the number 25, was an intense moment for all the CDK team and the Safran Sailing Team.

    Morgan Lagravière said: “I didn’t expect to feel so many emotions during this launch. I’ve just taken the helm of Safran for the first time and I had the feeling of already having a connection with my boat. It’s a huge pleasure for me but also for the whole team who have built a magnificent boat. I’ve just experienced a very important moment in my life as a sailor.”

    The new Safran Imoca Open 60 class ocean racer

    New 60’ - 2015
    First 60’ - 2005

    At the beginning of 2014, Safran announced that it would continue its ocean racing sponsorship with the young skipper Morgan Lagravière, 27, at the helm of a new Open 60 racing yacht under Imoca (International Monohull Open Class Association) standards. The 60-foot boat was launched on March 5, 2015, in the Breton port of Lorient.

    With this new ocean racer, Safran intends to set the pace against six other new-generation boats that will be competing in the Vendée Globe 2016 round-the-world solo race. The new Imoca class prototype was designed from the ground up to be compact, maneuverable and as light as possible, so it can ride the waves… In other words, perfect for a solo race!

    A team of sponsors To maintain its position as the engine behind this new generation of Imoca class monohull racing yachts, the Safran Sailing Team teamed up with Banque Populaire, also a customer of the naval architects Verdier/VPLP, and with Hugo Boss. Through this partnership, they were able to pool development costs and resources, and share the results of advanced hydrology studies.

    "The idea is to unite our efforts and our resources to maximize the results of our aerodynamic and hydrodynamic research, giving us the highest-performance hulls in the class. We expect to see a real competitive advantage."
    Gérard Le Page, CEO, Safran Sailing Team

    A new generation of Imoca class boats

    The new Safran Imoca Open 60 class ocean racer (60 ft/18.28 meters), like the original boat, is the product of naval architects Vincent Lauriot Prévost, from the firm VPLP, and Guillaume Verdier, coupled with the technological expertise of Safran and the maritime know-how of the Safran Sailing Team.

    Far more powerful than its predecessor, the new boat features a much wider hull, with more "torque" when it lists, a guarantee of higher performance. The center of gravity (mast and keel) was moved back to lighten the forward section and make sure the boat doesn’t have to plow through the water. Another difference is in the lifting planes, or foils*, which mark a significant evolution on this new generation of Imoca Open 60 class vessels.

    The bow is also larger, which also lightens the forward section and maintains a balance with the bottom, even when the boat lists.

    Home port: La Trinité-sur-Mer (Morbihan/France)
    Naval architects: Cabinet Van Peteghem & Lauriot Prévost et Guillaume Verdier
    Shipyard: CDK
    Design: Isabelle Keller
    Length: 18.28 m (60’)
    Beam: 5.80 m
    Draft: 4.50 m
    Rotating wing mast (Imoca standard)
    Mainsail: 160 m²
    Gennaker: 280 m²
    Solent: 150 m²
    Trinquette: 100 m²
    Monotype keel and mast

    Imoca standards limit the number of appendages to five: a keel, with an imposed fin, two center boards, and two rudder blades. The naval architects studied the rudder blades in depth, to come up with an optimized shape and weight for maximum efficiency.

    For the mast, architects have to choose between two standard types: a conventional mast with spreader arms, or a rotating wing mast, and it’s the latter that Morgan Lagravière chose for the new Safran. This choice determined the shape, cut and weight of the sails. The architects, skipper and "sailmaster" teamed up to develop the sails.


    The foils* (or lifting planes) are appendages that allow Imoca class monohulls to increase top speed by nearly two knots, from reaching to sailing before the wind. For a round-the-world race, an increase of two knots means cutting the time by two days – and the record they’re all shooting for is the 78 days set by François Gabart in the last Vendée Globe! Naval architect Vincent Lauriot-Prévost explains: "The stronger the wind, the more lift provided by the appendages (keel and foils), and the lighter and therefore faster the boat."

    *In fluid mechanics, a foil, or "airfoil", is a sort of shaped wing moving through water and increasing the lift of the platform to which it is attached.

    Safran technologies on the new Safran boat

    Some 200 employees from nearly all Safran companies contributed to the construction of the new Safran. Their expertise will help the new boat offer the highest performance and reliability of its generation.

    The entire boat was modeled by the naval architects. Safran Engineering Services then refined and validated the model, and calculated the new hull design along with the architects.
    Safran Composites worked on the new rudder blades, designed and built using 3D woven carbon composites, with the resin transfer molding (RTM) process. This is a proprietary Safran technology.

    The ultimate aim is to make a light, yet rigid part which is also flawless.

    Other Group companies also contributed their expertise: Structil provided the carbon for the hull and mast; Sagem the electrical and electronics know-how; Snecma the titanium parts in the center boards; Labinal Power Systems the aluminum wiring.
    Last edited by Photoboy; 03-05-2015, 12:52 PM.
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