The melting pot class
Conceived in 2004 as an intermediate ocean racing category between the Mini-Transat racers and the 60-foot IMOCAs, from the 2006 Route du Rhum Class40 boats attracted a lot of interest with 25 solo sailors competing just ten months after the class rules were drawn up. So far, more than 140 boats have come out of the yards, based on designs by a wide range of international designers and with racers on board from all sorts of backgrounds and indeed in some cases from other sports. Many former Mini racers moved to this class, which is based on simple rules, where technological advances are limited, but where we find an extremely wide range of hull shapes.
Fourteen countries are represented with more than twenty designers from around the world having worked on these boats trying to find the best compromise between what is allowed in the box rule, where the length cannot exceed 12.19 metres, the beam 4.50 metres, the draught 3.00 metres, the weight 4500 kg and the upwind sail surface 115 m2. Over the past ten years, Class40 has been through some changes, even if the atmosphere remains just as friendly between pro racers from the Figaro circuit and even from IMOCA boats, and enlightened amateurs, who often made their way up through the Mini Transat. The current design trend favours power by expanding the bow section, as we have seen on their big sisters in the 60-foot class, and by adopting hard chines, which stretch from the bow to the stern…
At the same time, these Class40 boats remain reasonable to handle, even if their performance is constantly rising and they require you to be in excellent physical condition. When Sébastien Rogues and Fabien Delahaye carried out the crossing in 2013 in under three weeks, this was confirmed, as they sailed at an average of over eleven knots over the 5400 miles, and finished just one day and a half behind the final IMOCA. The many races in which the Class40s have competed show us that the gaps at the finish are sometimes down to a tiny minute.
Maximum length: 12.19 m (40 feet)
Maximum beam: 4.50 m
Maximum draught: 3.00 m
Air draught: 19.00 m
Unladen weight: 4500 kg
Maximum ballast tanks: 1500 litres
Upwind sail surface: 115 m2
Maximum of three appendages, daggerboards banned, no exotic materials allowed, fixed masts, maximum of eight sails aboard…