The French naval architecture firm VPLP is one of the world’s most highly regarded in offshore racing. Their latest triumph—designing the foiling monohull sailed to victory by Armel Le Cléac’h in the latest Vendée Globe.
We spoke to VPLP co-founder Marc Van Peteghem about foils, Sea Bubbles and the company’s upcoming projects.
NauticExpo e-mag: How did VPLP get started?
Marc Van Peteghem: I met my partner Vincent Lauriot-Prévost at Southampton University in England. After graduating, each went his own way for three years. Vincent worked for Philippe Harlé and I worked for Gilles Vaton. In 1983 we decided to create our own firm. We began by designing a foiling multihull. The project was successful and rapidly led us to do series boats, in particular the Lagoon catamarans for the Beneteau group. Nearly 3,800 have been produced to date. We then got into racing monohulls. The first five finishers in this year’s Vendée Globe were designed by Guillaume Verdier and us.
NE e-mag: The first four boats in the Vendée Globe were equipped with foils. Is this a first?
Marc Van Peteghem: Yes, this year is the first time. I think that more and more racing boats will use foils for the simple reason that they enable the hull to leave the water, reducing resistance enormously.