Q&A with Designer Marc Lombard

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Designer Marc Lombard, of La Rochelle, France, cut his teeth at England's Green Marine and started his early design work on multihulls and hydrofoils before expanding his design portfolio to monohulls. Some of his recent projects include custom cruisers, such as the aluminum Futuna 57 (in build) and four Open 60s in the Vendee Globe nonstop solo round-the-world race. Josh Adams caught up with him at the Paris Boat Show last week.

JA: What's your assessment of this race in the early going?

Lombard: This Vendee Globe is very unusual. The first Atlantic leg was all downwind, which is out of character. You don't usually see big differences between the new boats. It’s not a question of hull shape, it's a question of how much sail you can carry.

JA: Do you expect your boats to excell in one area?

Lombard: According to the simulation we made around the world, we'll make the difference in the Atlantic [on the final leg to France]. There is lots of reaching and lots of upwind.

JA: What's the key to winning the Vendee?

Lombard: You have to get from the Cape of Good Hope to Cape Horn with as few of these [international hand symbol for a broach] as possible.

JA: How much do you rely on your research, such as CFD tools?

Lombard: The most important thing is the idea of the designer. Research people are dangerous. You can always make a calculation to get the answer you want. I can't trust an engineer that works only in CFD.

JA: Why are French sailors dominating this race?

Lombard, with a smile: My answer to that is there are many Frenchman in the race.

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