The Barcelona World Race is raced on IMOCA 60 yachts, specially design for solo and double-handed ocean sailing.
The boat was born in 1986 and has been in constant evolution since. It is now one of the fastest monohulls in existence. It is built in composite materials, so as to be as light as possible, with significant speed gains, and tough enough to withstand the gruelling conditions taken on in a round the world regatta.
The IMOCA 60 is an 'open class'. That means that designers enjoy a level of freedom with the design, but within certain parameters, a set of maximum measurements stipulated for the IMOCA 60 Class, which are: 60 feet (18.29 metres) length, 4.5 metre draught and a maximum mast height of 29 metres above the waterline.
These are veritable giants of the sea: as long as a three-axle lorry, as high as a three-storey building.
The yachts' sail area in fair winds is bigger than three tennis courts. However, the interiors of these yachts are anything but spacious: just ten metres squared for two people to live in for three months during the Barcelona World Race.
The design must comply with a series of safety requirements that can be classified into two major groups:
- The structural design regulations. These are the rules covering aspects of the design such as watertight compartments and safety hatches.
- Stability regulations. A list of regulations and tests that each boat must adhere to in order to guarantee stability and self-righting ability if the yacht capsizes.
The hull shape and rigging features are designed for ocean sailing. They take into account the average wind direction and swell encountered in a west-east round the world regatta. With preferred conditions being fair winds, the IMOCA 60s have hulls with smooth lines, for gliding over the waves, allowing the boats to hit peak speeds of around 25 knots.
Basic characteristics of an IMOCA 60*
- Length: Maximum 18.28 m. (60 feet)
Beam: Maximum 5.85 m.
Draught: Maximum 4.5 m.
- Mast height: Maximum 29 m.
- Displacement: between 8 and 9 t. (8,000 – 9,000 kg.)
Upwind sail area: between 240 and 330 m2
Downwind sail area: between 460 and 620 m2
Keel type: Swing (pendular)
*according to 2014 class rules and not retroactive for boats certified earliersegún norma de 2014 no retroactiva para barcos con certificación anterior