Archambault has just won the contract to build the next international one-design raceboat for the Tour de France à la Voile.
The M34 will replaceme the Farr 30 (formerly Mumm), which has been used for the past 12 years. It was chosen from a shortlist of three finalists after Tour organisers received 23 design submissions from nine nations.
Builder Emmanuel Archambault and naval architect Alexandre Mercier attended the press conference and in a joint statement declared:
‘This is incredible news for the shipyard and the architects. We’d like to thank everyone who had contributed to the choice of this boat. This is a huge challenge as the boat must be equal to the expectation of the sailors on the 2011 Tour.’
The Tour has only used three yachts in the past 26 years. The design brief demanded a construction strong enough to last at least 10 years at the top. The race mixes technical regattas (triangles) with coastal and offshore legs up to 200 miles long, allowing amateurs and students to sail against professionals aboard identical craft.
Moreover, the design brief required easy transportation by road, a reasonable draft to enter into ports, no more than five to six crews, and a retractable sprit for an asymmetrical spinnaker. On the shortlist were the JPK 998 designed by Jacques Valer, the One Design T2011 designed by Russel Coutts/Andrej Justin, and finally the M34. The new boat is longer than the Farr 30, more modern and better suited to offshore legs. With a superior sail area/displacement ratio it will sail 0.5 knots faster upwind and much quicker downwind.
The offshore qualities allow a wider range of races, and announcement coincided with the revelation of a transatlantic race. The bi-annual event, supervised by the Larivière Organisation and supported by the French Sailing Federation, will be held in the winter/spring of 2011/2012. It will follow the trade winds to ensure a genuine speed run across the Atlantic.