Video by Lydia Mullan
This past fall SAIL magazine had a chance to capture some onboard sailing video of the Figaro Beneteau 3, the world’s first large production foiling one-design monohull and a winner in SAIL’s 2019 Best Boats awards. Better still, we were also given a guided tour of how it all works. (Although it was a bit of a breezy day: please excuse the audio!)
The boat has been designed in response to the ongoing trend toward raceboats requiring fewer or no crew—as is evident in events like the Bermuda 1-2, the Pacific Cup and an increasing number of doublehanded sections in races like the Chicago-Mac.
Designed by naval architects Van Peteghem and Lauriot Prévost (VPLP), the 35ft 6in Figaro Beneteau 3 is proving to be the perfect boat for skippers in search of a solo or doublehanded adventure, not to mention a serious adrenaline rush. Most obvious, of course, are the boat’s radically curved twin lateral daggerboards, which deploy and retract manually via a pair of sturdy housings. Although the blades are not intended to provide full-foiling performance à la the America’s Cup, they do provide resistance to leeway and a powerful righting force as the boat accelerates, thereby allowing designers to minimize weight in the keel bulb without having to incorporate water ballast.
Beyond that, when the wind and seas are up the boards also provide stability and lift forward, smoothing out the ride and preventing the bow from submarining.
As for those skeptics who think the whole blade thing is just a gimmick, the “Figaro” in the boat’s name refers to the fact it is now the official one-design for France’s annual solo offshore La Solitaire Figaro, long a proving for such sailing legends as Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier. Suffice it to say, these are sailors who demand nothing but the best.
For more on the Figaro Beneteau 3, click here.