In 2019, as the Solitaire Le Figaro race celebrates its fiftieth anniversary, the Figaro Bénéteau 3 will take over from its illustrious predecessor, the Figaro Bénéteau 2, which has been sailing the length and breadth of the French and Atlantic coasts since 2003.
This Figaro Bénéteau 3 is the fruit of a collaboration formed by the Bénéteau Group, with the Class Figaro, OC Sport, the organiser of the Solitaire URGO- Le Figaro and Le Figaro group. Penned by naval architects Van Peteghem – Lauriot-Prévost, whose designs won the last two Vendée Globes and are likely to be on the podium for the 8th edition, the latest of the Class Figaro one-designs is the first production foiling monohull.
Around a hundred Figaro Bénéteau 2s have been built since 2003, which augurs well for the 3rd iteration. In order to optimise the manufacture of production boats, whilst adhering to the drastic criteria of the one-design, the Group has just created the Bénéteau Racing Division Group. It is a powerful signal of the company’s desire to forge ahead with innovation that is geared towards performance. A dedicated construction site has been put in place in Nantes-Cheviré (Loire-Atlantique). This hub comprises around fifteen experts and will also be tasked with piloting and producing the Group’s future racing and regatta projects.
There has been positive reaction from Yoann Richomme, Winner of the Solitaire Bompard Le Figaro 2016 and Head of the Class Figaro’s Measurement and Safety Committee
'With this new Figaro Bénéteau 3, we’re hoping to offer the fleet and those who are inspired to join us an exhilarating and more modern boat. Inevitably, after 15 years of offshore racing on the same boat, you get a little tired of it. As such, it was an opportune moment to make the move and, in so doing, get in touch with the status of science. It wasn’t about making the Figaro Bénéteau 2 vintage, rather it’s about bringing something innovative and visible to the fore. Foils are clearly the future, especially in a competition environment. The skippers will be able to get to grips with these tools in the Figaro and this will give them the building blocks to move onto something else further down the track should they so wish.
There are sure to be gains in speed, if only from the power of the hull and the contemporary sail plan. However, anticipating the gains isn’t easy, especially for a small boat. It should equate to around 15% downwind'.