The identity of the much-rumoured eighth new-generation IMOCA 60 being build has finally been officially revealed with the news that French two-time Figaro winner Nicolas Troussel has commissioned a Juan Kouyoumdjian designed boat to be built with a launch date of January 2020.
The announcement from Troussel – who grew up racing against close friends Armel Le Cléac’h and Jérémie Beyou in Morlaix Bay – brings the number of latest generation foiling boats for the next edition of the Vendee Globe in 2020 up to eight.
By building a new boat Troussel is virtually guaranteed an entry in the 2020 edition of the non-stop around-the-world race, providing he completes a solo transatlantic crossing.
The young Frenchman won highly competitive solo Solitaire du Figaro in 2006 and in 2008 – after which he felt confident he was ready to step up into the IMOCA 60 round the world scene. Despite his rookie status as a round the world sailor Troussel says he had no interest in simply taking part, but rather wanted to be “a serious contender”.
Before deciding to go for a new Juan K-designed boat Troussel said he weighed up the options of buying one of the two proven to be competitive boats up for sale – Safran and Hugo Boss.
“We studied all the options, including the purchase of a good performing second-hand boat,” Troussel said. “We wanted a boat that would be competitive right up until the end of the project in 2022. That’s why we decided to build a brand new IMOCA.
“In the end decided to work with Juan Kouyoumdjian. I had already been in contact with him and we got on well together. He is ready to give it his all to win the Vendée Globe.”
Troussel has chosen Michel Desjoyeaux’s Mer Agitée operation to manage the technical aspects of the campaign – an easy decision, he said, given that Desjoyeaux has taken part twice in the Vendée Globe and won on both occasions.
“He also worked with François Gabart when he won the 2012-2013 race,” Troussel said. “He knows all the problems in this race, both in terms of the technology and the sailor. It’s a real bonus having him in this project. He will in particular be helping us a lot with ensuring the reliability of the boat.”
Troussel is yet to confirm his sailing programme for this year as he waits for his new boat to be completed, but he says he hopes to take part in the more than 5,000-mile double-handed transatlantic Transat Jacques Vabre race at the end of October.
Despite likely being the last of the Vendee Globe 2020 skippers to be able to launch his new boat Troussel believes there could be some upside in what the team can learn as the other new generation boats go live.
“Ideally we’d like to launch the boat as early as possible,” he said. “But we will have the advantage of getting some feedback from the other new IMOCAs and the problems they have encountered.
“We will try to plan ahead as much as we can to avoid as many problems as possible after the launch.”