Friday, 30 August 2019

What kind of yacht is the Malizia II?

Swedish teenage environmental activist Greta Thunberg and her father arrived by yacht in New York early in the morning on 29 August, Sydney time. She had left Plymouth in Cornwall on 14 August, so her journey took about 16 days. A tad over two weeks, in any case.

I couldn’t find any information about how much the trip would have cost if it had been one operated commercially but the Malizia II made the crossing with a two-man professional crew (plus Greta and her dad). According to this page, normally this type of voyage would require payment of money. I found some pages on the web that said that two crew would have to fly to New York in order to sail the boat back to Europe, as you need four people on the boat to sail it. Those people might have already arrived in New York, it’s hard to say.

The yacht the two adventurers sailed on is a very modern boat called the Malizia II that is normally berthed at Monaco. The yacht was built at the Multiplast yard in the town of Vannes, which is located between La Rochelle and Brest (on France’s Atlantic coast), and it was designed by naval architects Verdier. There is a web page about the solar energy system that has been installed on the yacht. The boat was originally named Gitana 16 and launched in 2015.

The people who now operate the boat have a web page explaining why the boat is called “the wily one’’.  There is a link in the name with the House of Grimaldi, the current head of which rules in Monaco. The name is, reportedly, a tribute to Francesco Grimaldi, “a Genovese who arrived by sea in 1297 and founded the Grimaldi family dynasty.” The boat’s skipper is a native of Monaco.

The Malizia II’s design is IMOCA60. “IMOCA” stands for the International Monohull Open Class Association. The “60” in the class ID refers to the length of design-compliant boats: 60 feet (18 metres). I couldn’t find any information about what the hull is made of, but it could be fibreglass. The specifications for this design class don’t specify the type of construction material to be used for compliant boats and disclosing the nature of the material used for the hull might risk reducing the boat’s competitiveness; this is a racing yacht.

According to more than one source, the boat has a “tumblehome” hull shape, which means that the beam at the sheer is less than the maximum beam of the hull. The beam is the width of the hull at its widest point. The sheer is the point where the hull is separated from the deck. So the boat would have a slightly rotund appearance when seen from astern or from past the bow. This kind of hull is designed “to limit the beam of the deck and thus make [the boat] more lightweight”.

I doubt that you would find a faster yacht than this, at least a faster monohull (catamarans, or boats with twin hulls, tend to be faster than monohulls). The following photo is by Jean-Marie Liot and is from the boat’s website. It’s really a stunning boat! I couldn’t help making this blogpost as I was a keen sailor from even before reaching my teens.

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