If it were in an English shipyard, it would be called “pit stop”, but La Trinité-sur-Mer is a Breton shipyard, so words like “bricolage” and “maquillage” are more appropriate. The Class40 IBSA will spend the entire next month in a dry dock – a few meters from where, exactly one year ago, it was under construction – with the sole aim of taking care of the details.
“Our boat is exceptional and highly performing”, explained Alberto Bona. “So far, we have covered almost ten thousand miles of ocean, but we were waiting to return to Brittany for a further series of improvements. The more you know about the boat, the more you have the opportunity to improve it: ten thousand miles at all points of sailing and in all weather conditions allow to accumulate a lot of data, with which an upgrade is then possible”.
What to improve and why? On the what to improve, Alberto Bona remains largely elusive, because regatta tactics do exist, but there are also shipyard tactics; on the why to improve, however, there are no secrets: “In the end, Class40s are boats built based on a “box rule” and therefore very similar to each other, and the search for performance goes through very small details and tiny improvements that make them go faster by a few tenths of a knot”.
What to do then? The acquired data shows that the Class40 IBSA is very fast in strong winds but can still improve in light ones: “That’s where we have to first change something: in strong winds we outdistance our opponents, but when the wind drops we’re less competitive; so, there is work to be done on this aspect”.
Whether it’s water lines or sail design, whether it’s weight distribution or the amount of objects on board, it doesn’t matter: “Everything makes a difference”, announces Alberto, “and we will act on every little detail”.
The only drawback is the time available: a month may seem like a lot, but in the special calendar of a boat in the dry dock it’s a very short time. “Based on the data we collected and the analyses we made, we feel that it would take even more time to improve both the boat and ourselves. At the start of the Normandy Channel Race, at the beginning of June, we’ll see if our strategy has paid off: we’ll meet teams that, like us, have already chosen to do two regattas this year – therefore highly trained and water-experienced teams, with little time spent in the yard – as well as teams that returned to the dock after the Route du Rhum in December 2022, therefore with fewer weeks of sailing to their credit, but with many months spent in the yard”.
Once again, it will be the race course to give its verdict.