Inventiveness and Reliability
Both very close and complementary, in forty years, the Jean-Marie Finot and Pascal Conq duo has forged the reputation of designing perfectly balanced and admirably seaworthy boats. Whether racing yachts, cruisers or large yachts, each of their creations is marked with
the stamp of inventiveness and reliability.
Reliability: Out of the eighteen 60-foot yachts designed and built for seven Vendée Globe races, the IMOCAs designed by Finot Conq took to the starting line 33 times and 24 of them made a name for themselves at the finish. Winning, in particular, four consecutive victories and two second places.
Innovation: Finot-Conq invented and perfected the following for the 60-foot Imocas:
- Twin rudders
- *Deck-mounted booms and sheer-mounted shrouds
- Vacuum-cured prepreg carbon and Nomex honeycomb hulls
- Composite keel fins
- The first canting keel to sail around the world
- Integral pivot composite canting keels
- Ballast system adapted to canting keels
- Twin asymmetrical daggerboards
- Wing masts with deck spreaders
- Lifting rudders in the event of a collision
Finot-Conq’s forty years of experience has been interspersed with many wins and awards. More than 40,000 boats built to their plans sail all over the world.
For the latest generation of Oceanis yachts between 31 and 45 feet, Finot-Conq was able to provide new solutions for evolving lifestyles on board, while rendering each craft even more powerful as it confronts the sea and the wind.
Architecture is all about proportions
Let us start with beauty. What is beauty in a boat? Martin Francis says: “Don’t forget the length, it’s so important” and he is so right!Bill Tripp showed us in black-and-white the picture of a long, slender, elegant 100-year-old racing yacht, designed by Herershoff. German Frers told us something that I have always believed: “Beauty does not only come from the harmony of a boat’s shapes and lines, but from the pleasure it procures the owner and its crew”. We can also add this standard phrase: “A fast boat is beautiful”.
Of course, it’s not as simple as all that and everything is a question of proportions. Architecture is all about proportions. In the same way as beauty, performance is the result of a combination of proportions that change with time. Their acceptance is not immediate (…) And the chief recent progress and revolution in performance results from a considerable displacement of proportions. (…) Sailing yachts were narrow; they will have a large beam. This is documented and it works! With the increase in beam we are lucky to see a very noticeable increase in interior volume in cruising boats. We have come full circle.
As simple as a great idea
After 25 years of success and a few transformations, the first 210 (currently the first 20) remains a ‘best of’. She has kept all her promises and enabled owners to enter the big-league. This Finot-Conq plan was inspired by the trends of the time to develop and enjoy an outstanding career that would find its way onto the pages of the Guinness book of records. Small in size, but colossal in its unanimously acclaimed qualities, this yacht continues to be the pride and joy of its owners. Nearly 5,000 boats now sail the seas the world over and the owners’ associations are all very lively.
Jean-Marie Finot : In 1992, François Chalain, Pascal Conq and myself set ourselves the challenge of setting sail with a small yacht: a cockpit for four people, a simple set of sails, a simple space, an elegant boat inside and out that could be trailed and beached. Safety led us to a displacement of over 1,000 kg and retractable ballast, for greater stability. The boat was unsinkable. The search for simplicity guided us towards the integrated coachroof, bringing manoeuvres into the cockpit, and creating good vision to the bow. We searched for sturdiness, the simplicity of a flower at sea, the elegance of a bird.” The response was her success and the love of sailors for their boat.”
Pascal Conq : What I remember is François Chalain lighting up his pipe on the balcony of our office and continuing, through the window, to tell us about his summer thoughts! He came back from his holiday with the idea of a small new boat for Beneteau. He imagined an easy boat, designed for pleasure. An “endearing” small attractive, neat boat, well-crafted in every detail; today we would call it well-designed. He wanted an elegant blue boat, an attractive little boat! Inside it was kept simple and efficient with no frills, but charming. That was the spirit. He went further by adding a few sentences which stuck with me: a small stylish cruiser, for chic but conservative rich kids from the Golfe du Morbihan! The project then went very fast and very naturally. We agreed to sacrifice nothing of the seakeeping, stability and safety of the boat and this turned out to be one of its major strengths. The nearly vertical bow, an integrated streamlined roof, absorbed by a generous freeboard to the fore, on a hull sufficiently state-of-the art to still be timeless today. As for the twin-rudders on a wide transom, for the time, it was a small revolution, a technical achievement freeing up the interior space (absence of prop under the mast, replaced by an arched beam). Attention was also paid to detail, emphasizing smooth shapes, such as the deck and hull bond which shows the marvellous sheer line of the boat, and which brought back the shine of the wood in a recessed toe rail, as well as the moulded aluminium bow-plate. We developed all this for this boat, and she was born sufficiently modern to continue to hold an important place for sailors today.
Extract of Pascal Conq’s speech at the Superyacht Design symposium in Miami, Florida. 2012