Vendée Globe 2016 - 2017
In 2014, Safran thought it best to get youth on its side by offering Morgan Lagravière a chance to be skipper of Safran, a 60ft new-generation monohull featuring foils, and flying the Group's flag for the Vendée Globe 2016 – 2017. The young skipper was keen to get going: he would be setting set off on the 8th Vendée Globe, his first ever solo race! Aged 29, he is one of the youngest competitors.
Kaïros, the team set up in 2007 and managed by Roland Jourdain and Sophie Vercelletto, is managing the project as regards the technical preparation of the boat and the physical training for Morgan.
On April 26, 2016, Morgan Lagravière, upon finishing a 1,500-mile route on a solo race, officially qualified for the Vendée Globe.
On Sunday November 6, 2016, thirty skippers set sail for the 8th Vendée Globe.
On November, 24th, after being in the lead group for 18 days, Morgan Lagravière contacted his shore team to inform it that his rudder has been damaged, that will forced him to abandon the Vendée Globe race.
While sailing at a speed of 18-19 knots, the monohull broached and the skipper immediately noticed that the starboard rudder had flipped up and that part of the rudder was broken, probably due to an impact with a UFO (unidentified floating object).
Lagravière, after he had securised his boat, sailed towards Cape Town (South Africa), the closest port, to meet his shore team.
Philippe Petitcolin, managing director of Safran, expressed his support for the young skipper: "It's a huge disappointment for Morgan, the Safran Sailing Team, and for all the Safran employees, who have passionately followed and supported the boat and this adventure. Since the start in Les Sables d'Olonne, the Morgan-Safran duo has shown itself to be more than up to the challenge and has been permanently in the lead group. Morgan has shown his intensely competitive spirit, and represented the values of Safran. I join all Group employees in sending him my support at this difficult time."
A tailor-made boat for the Vendée Globe
Boasting much more power than the previous boat, it features a wider hull with more torque when it heels, which means it offers top performance. The center of gravity was moved backwards to free up the front and avoid the boat from pushing the water too much. The stem is also bigger, which provides balance to the hull even when it the boat is heeling.
A major change
Safran features foils, which have been fitted instead of conventional stabilizers. The foils lift the boat up out of the water, which results in with less wetted area and decreased drag. The increase in speed is significant is some points when reaching (sailing across the wind) and running downwind. The stronger the wind, the more the keels and foils take, and the lighter the boat the quicker it goes.