February 13 2018
With committed sponsors, a determined and talented skipper and a technical director who won the 2004-05 Vendée Globe, there are all the ingredients for Juan and his team to be part of an ambitious adventure where the primary objective is to be leading from the front.
“I like being part of extraordinary projects and this has all the right ingredients. When we met Sébastien and Vincent I felt a rare synergy.” Such was the enthusiasm with which Juan Kouyoumdjian accepted the opportunity to develop this project: but beyond the undeniable human connection, there was also the chance to conceive a prototype which appealed to the Franco-Argentine designer. Monohulls designed to compete in the Vendée Globe are in reality the only true R&D platforms where contemporary architects can still fully express their potential, pushing the limits of their research. “In the context of cutting-edge monohull sailing, the Vendée Globe is for the moment the only platform which offers innovation. To work on the development of an Open 60 project is very intellectually stimulating.”
Juan Kouyoumdjian has been involved in numerous Volvo Ocean Race campaigns (with three victories) and the America's Cup: his experience in building prototypes is extensive and his methods unique. Vincent Riou commented “We have decided to play the game with prototype and we are convinced we have chosen the right person. We immediately felt that Juan wanted to immerse himself in a winning project and that he was ready to follow us closely until 2020 by getting entrenched in the development. Thanks to his experience, he has developed very sharp architectural evaluation tools that in my opinion are the best in the current market. In addition, his architectural approach is different from that of other architects.” The design method used by Juan K is in fact the fruit of a virtuous cycle rather than a linear process which allows for multiple revisions in the design stages, constantly refining the details.
Considerations for the design of this sailboat have only just started: the team is still in the research phase but the architect already has ideas: “I am visualising the boat but it's too early to discuss this. We still need to immerse ourselves for a few months before we can confirm that what we envisage is correct. What I am sure of is that the new IMOCA rule will certainly create boats with unique shapes.” The challenge in the coming months will therefore be to combine perfectly the technical and sporting elements within the framework of the Class rules, creating the right formula to win the Vendée Globe… since the possible combinations of research are infinite, it will take a lot of devotion and ingenuity.