Et voilà…one among the most anticipated boats of the Salon Nautique International de Paris is finally here! Yesterday morning, at the commencement of the boat show, the Figaro Bénéteau 3 – the world’s first production foiling one-designed monohull – was unveiled to the public along with the technical choices adopted by the architects of the Van Peteghem Lauriot-Prévost design studio.
Of course, our attention was immediately captured by foils. Their shape and position are significantly different from those of Imoca 60, the racing yachts where they have become more and more widespread. Contrary to Imoca 60’s ones, the FB3 foils indeed have an inward-facing profile and are positioned a little higher on the hull. Moreover, the foils retract to within the max beam of the boat and they do so well above the waterline to guarantee structural and watertight integrity in the case of impact.
Compared with her illustrious predecessor, the Figaro 2, the new monohull features a more performing hull, where ballasts have been removed and a lighter, narrower keel reduces leeway while causing minimal drag.
The sail plan, too, is quite innovative. In contrast to the previous model, the mast is stepped further aft and a bowsprit is installed at the bow in order to have a wider and more powerful sail area.
The success of the project seems to be a priority for Bénéteau. A dedicated construction site has been put in place in Nantes-Cheviré, where the Bénéteau Racing Division Group – a hub including around 15 experts, is developing the Group’s future racing and regatta projects.
The first step will be the production of a first batch of 50 Figaro Bénéteau 3 for the end of 2018 with a view to participation in the next edition of “La Solitaire Urgo – Le Figaro”, the prestigious singlehanded ocean race which, sponsored by the namesake Paris-based newspaper, is celebrated since 1970.
An additional evidence of the extraordinary Bénéteau’s focus on racing projects and, above all, the Figaro Class comes from sales prices. The first models, reserved for the skippers which are already part of the Class, will be sold at € 155,000.00, VAT excluded, while the following ones are expected to coast € 175,000.000, VAT excluded.
The Bénéteau Figaro 3 represents the third generation of an already successful boat. The first Figaro 1 was, in fact, designed by Berret Finot in 1990. With a hull length of 9.14 meters, liquid ballasts and an overall weight of 2,900 kg, the monotype was built in 140 units, leading the races for 12 years.
Designed by Marc Lombard, the Figaro 2 appeared in 2003 and continues to run still today. Now, the Figaro 3 marks an important step forward in technological terms: double rudder, carbon mast, infused hull and deck. The hull is longer than the predecessor’s one and features an overall weight of 3,270 kg. The boat is more powerful and equipped with a 65-square-meter sail area (10 square meter more than the previous model). With the new Figaro 3, sailing finally enters the future.
Although the foils are the main innovation, what this boat represents in terms of focus on the racing and regatta projects inevitably marks the beginning of a new era.
Figaro Bénéteau 3
|Waterline Length||9 mt|
|Max Beam||3.40 mt|
|Unladen displacement||2,900 kg|