Beneteau’s Figaro 3 is already a game-changer because the world’s first manufacturing foiling one-design monohull. It arrived with excessive expectations, as this newest version follows the 2 vastly profitable Figaro fashions that since 1992 haven’t solely dominated their class but additionally sailed extra miles than every other Vendee Globe yachts.
So, when the primary Figaro 3 into Asia whistled by Hong Kong on her method to Taiwan, I used to be fairly excited to get a fast spin on her earlier than she left for her new house.
Firstly, she’s an incredible boat, seems implausible and handles amazingly properly. She’s in-built a personalized yard in France by a separate racing division that was arrange throughout the Beneteau Group to supervise the launch of this iconic iteration and work on future racing tasks.
The third model succeeds the extremely profitable Figaro 2, which for about 15 years helped launch the careers of the world’s best, single-handed skippers, most of whom are French. These embrace Charles Caudrelier, who led the China-flagged Dongfeng Race Team to victory within the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race.
VPLP Design, based by Marc Van Peteghem and Vincent Lauriot-Prevost, was the architect of the final two boats to win the Vendee Globe and was additionally accountable for this newest Figaro, a proud addition to the French agency’s outstanding portfolio.
And it was an almighty problem having to succeed each the Figaro 1, which had naval structure by Finot Berret and produced about 140 items, and the Marc Lombard-designed Figaro 2, which tallied nearly 100 hulls.
Sales for the Figaro 3 are already topping the latter, because the newcomer is the unique mannequin for use on this 12 months’s Solitaire du Figaro, a race Caudrelier received in 2004 and which has been the proving floor for therefore many offshore sailors.
It’s a traditional single-handed race for single-minded individuals who don’t prefer to sail on boats with different individuals!
However, together with her inward-curving foils, the Figaro 3 also can turn into the stepping stone for the IMOCA 60 – used within the Vendee Globe and additionally the subsequent Volvo Ocean Race – and different offshore foiling races all over the world, the bulk hailing from France.
Flying The Figaro
Stepping into the cockpit, you instantly perceive she was primarily constructed for one individual to sail her quick and exhausting.
Everything runs into the cockpit and there’s a variety of every little thing, such because the mainsheet (course and fantastic), traveller, jib inhaulers and downhaulers, foil extension and retraction system, backstay runners, in addition to the halyards and spinnaker tack line. All of it results in the small cockpit and could make a giant mess for those who’re not up to the mark.
In the center of the cockpit is area for a small liferaft, appropriate for these longer offshore races, however it might probably simply as simply maintain a beer cooler and music for those who’re performing some round-the-island crusing, which is good.
Taking the helm was a nice shock. The Figaro 3 is extremely gentle and very delicate for a yacht this measurement. She responds like a dinghy, rapidly and fortunately going wherever you need her.
As she was designed for single or double-handed racing, the sunshine helm is important to make sure the auto-helm system shouldn’t be overstressed throughout lengthy offshore races.
She additionally factors surprisingly properly and it’s right here that the brand new “asymmetric tip foils” – as described by Beneteau – ship their magic.
These foils don’t raise the boat out of the water however as an alternative create a further sideways pressure to help that of the slim keel blade. This reduces leeway considerably and permits the yacht to level properly.
This system replaces the ballast tanks used within the Figaro 2 to cut back weight and drag, and makes the Figaro 3 sooner than her predecessor.
Heel her over a bit and she powers up rapidly, because the wetted floor space reduces and the power-to-drag ratio will increase.
The mast is ready again to stability a fathead fundamental and a big genoa to present a really balanced helm. She comes with a smaller jib, a masthead uneven spinnaker and a smaller gennaker to finish the usual sail plan for the one-design fleet.
Once we bought up the monitor, we turned downwind, hoisted the large spinnaker and off she went, simply hitting double digits in solely 10-12 knots of wind.
The acceleration, even in common winds, was nice enjoyable and it made me want that we might have had her out on a windier day to see what she might actually do when pushed.
Bare Necessities Down Below
After a good downwind zoom, I made a decision to take a look at the remainder of the boat. The foredeck is giant and straightforward to maneuver round when establishing the spinnaker and there’s loads of area on the aspect decks because the hatch is sort of slender and constructed to guard in offshore circumstances.
Down under, just one phrase suits and that phrase is spartan. Okay, maybe two phrases: spartan and very. Nothing that might detract from the goal of going quick and far has been added to this boat in an try, I believe, to place individuals off contemplating single or double-handed offshore crusing except they had been mad!
Two small, uncomfortable pipe cots imply sailors received’t be sleeping in luxurious and shall be accessible 24/7 to trim the boat and make her go quick.
There’s no fridge or cooking range of any description, so connoisseur meals aren’t on the menu, however that’s not a nasty factor as a result of there isn’t a rest room so it’s most likely finest to not eat an excessive amount of.
And there’s nowhere to retailer any private belongings, so that you received’t be bringing something onboard past what you stroll onto the boat with, so holding weight down.
With nothing else to energy – like fridges and air-con and TVs – the home batteries don’t have to be large, which once more reduces weight. The perfunctory engine is a 21hp unit from Japanese maker Nanni Diesel.
The Figaro 3 is constructed for pace, not for consolation, and is finest offshore the place she goes to excel in powerful circumstances and remind sailors what it’s to be alive. And she’s prone to type a really giant, closely used fleet for the subsequent 15 years or so, offering a launch pad for an additional technology of offshore crusing greats.
New Generation Sailing On The Beneteau Oceanis 51.1