Late next month, the prototype of the Figaro Bénéteau 3 will hit the water for two months of sea trials before the start of production in October

All eyes will be on France’s Vendée region in July – the location for the sea trials of the Figaro Bénéteau 3 prototype.

The very first one-design foiling monohull will be extensively tested for two months.

Bénéteau will be particularly looking at the position of the keel in relation to the mast, which will enable the hull structure to be confirmed.

The position of hardware will also require a long test phase, and the resulting decision will influence the positioning of the reinforcements to the deck foam.

Two men in white suits work on the hull of the Figaro Bénéteau 3

Work on the Figaro Bénéteau 3. Credit: Bénéteau

The French boatbuilder also said the trials will decide the position of the keel and the exact configuration of the keel housing.

If all goes according to plan, the Van Peteghem-Lauriot Prévost designed Figaro Bénéteau 3 will go into production in early October.

Head of the Figaro Bénéteau 3 programme within Groupe Bénéteau, Marc Vaillier, said: “In terms of timing, we’re pretty much on track, give or take a couple of weeks. There are still some additional tweaks, which require a little more time, but we’re managing to stick to our schedule”.

A drawing of the first one design foiling monouhull - the Figaro Bénéteau 3.

Redner of the Figaro Bénéteau 3. Credit: Bénéteau

Assembly of the foiling monohull is already underway.

Having been infused, the hull has just had all its bulkheads fitted, the engine’s drive train is in place and the keel reinforcements are in position.

The deck, which is also infused, is complete, and the deck fittings will be installed over the coming week.

During this same time frame, Bénéteau will dry fit the deck so as to check all the elements conform and the secondary polyester mouldings, such as the engine housing and companionway, are useable. The mast will be stepped in the third week of July.

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Bénéteau says the sails have been designed and “all that’s left is a discussion to outline the finishing touches between the North Sails sail loft and Yoann Richomme, winner of the 2016 Solitaire Bompard le Figaro and consultant skipper on the prototype as head of the Measurement and Safety Committee within the Figaro Class.”

“We have every intention of being in full working order to supply the production line from early October,” stressed Vaillier.

“We’re seeking to release one or two hulls in advance: manufacturing these large polyester composite parts takes time and we must be methodical, which is the key to the tempo if we want to release 1 one-design a week,” he added.

A black and white photo of the hull of a foiling boat under construction

Figaro Bénéteau 3 taking shape. Credit: Bénéteau

It looks like that from early October, the Figaro Bénéteau 2 will be at the dawn of her final season of offshore racing before a much-deserved retirement.

Technical Specifications of the Figaro Bénéteau 3

LOA: 10.85 metres

Hull length: 9.75 metres

Max hull beam: 3.47 metres

Light displacement: 2900 kg

Certification: ISO Cat A/World sailing