The last of IMOCA’s ‘2022 vintage’, Biotherm was launched on 31 August in Lorient, after an express build taking just thirty weeks or so at Persico in Italy.

Designed by Guillaume Verdier, and built in the moulds of LinkedOut, Biotherm’s implementation has made it possible to save time whilst limiting the budget, as well as being ‘sparing’ in terms of carbon footprint and LCA (life-cycle assessment), which is now a compulsory element in IMOCA’s class rule in the construction of a new boat. Paul Meilhat, who is very familiar with the Verdier design having sailed the whole of the 2021 racing season on her with Charlie Dalin (victory in the Rolex Fastnet and second place in the Transat Jacques Vabre behind Thomas Ruyant and Morgan Lagravière on LinkedOut) is not starting from scratch then. However, given the very tight timing (Biotherm announced its partnership in March 2022), the winner of the last Route du Rhum in IMOCA was keen to have a solid, simple and versatile boat, a virtual sistership to Apivia which, together with LinkedOut, has won every race over the past two years. Starting from the basic version – the plans dating back to the previous 2020-2021 Vendée Globe campaign – the monohull has been updated and geared specifically around Paul with a minimalist approach. Now spatulated, the bow has been changed to incorporate more rocker, the aim being to get the bow up when sailing downwind, the foils are from the latest generation, while the rudder systems and the cuddy sheltering the cockpit have been optimised. Everything has been simplified as much as possible, without taking any risks in terms of technological choices and overly complex developments. In June, Paul and his shore crew joined the team at the Persico yard, in Italy, to put the finishing touches to the boat – lamination, machining, sanding and installation of the wiring, fittings and systems… Biotherm has rejoined her home port in Port La Forêt, and undergone a series of sea trials with part of the crew, who will take the start of The Ocean Race this January after the Route du Rhum, which is due to set sail on 6 November.