Multiplast-Group Carboman produces foils for Beneteau

French composites firm Multiplast – Groupe Carboman (Vannes, France) was selected to produce the composite foils for a new cruising monohull sailboat, the Figaro 3, designed by French naval architects VPLP Design (Van Peteghem Lauriot-Prévost, Paris and Vannes, France) and built by Bénéteau Group.

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In the summer of 2016, Bénéteau Group (Saint Gilles Croix de Vie, France) launched a global request for proposal for a subcontractor able to produce the foils for its new cruising monohull sailboat, the Figaro 3, designed by French naval architects VPLP Design (Van Peteghem Lauriot-Prévost, Paris and Vannes, France). By way of background, the original Figaro sailboat was first designed for the Solitaire du Figaro multi-stage, solo French sailing race in 1991 and built by Beneteau as a one-design approach, where all sailors pilot identical boats. The original Figaro was updated in 2003. VPLP Design has now designed the latest Figaro, which will be launched in 2019 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the sailing race. The new design incorporates retractable composite “foils” or appendages, related to the foils seen in America’s Cup racing boats, that will help lift the hull and increase boat speed up to 15% over the predecessor design. Yachting World magazine (Dec. 16, 2016, Toby Hodges) says the “radical” Figaro 3 will be  the first production-built monohull with foils.

French composites firm Multiplast - Groupe Carboman (Vannes, France) was selected to produce the composite foils, with the ambitious goal of producing two foils per week for one year, within strict cost targets. The group’s knowledge of technologies including closed mold resin infusion and self-heated mold technology from another Carboman company Plastinov (Samazan, France) enabled Multiplast to take up the challenge, says Samuel Napoléoni, engineer in charge of the project at Multiplast: "A first mold section of about 500mm was quickly machined in order to carry out process validation tests. Each test took a week, we ran the process for a fortnight in order to work any ‘bugs’ out of the construction procedure . At the beginning of the year, our objective was to make the manufacturing process strong enough to start mass production. In parallel, we produced the molds and worked on the ergonomics of the workstation. At the end of June we produced the first four foils. At that time, we knew that we were on the right path.”

The foils are very innovative both in terms of geometry and manufacturing method. Designer Vincent Lauriot Prévost says: "The foam manufacturing process developed by the Carboman Group seems to us perfectly suited to the Figaro 3. Structural resistance, compliance with weight specifications and geometry go beyond our expectations. It is a fine example of collaboration between the builder, the client and the architect."

His satisfaction is shared by Eric Ingouf, production manager of the Figaro 3 at Bénéteau: "The collaboration with the team at Multiplast was effective and constructive. Whether in terms of deadlines, the quality of the finish, or the design profile, the specifications have been perfectly respected. We were also able to perform break tests, always with great results, to validate the resistance according to our calculations.”

A hundred foils will be made before the summer of 2018 to be mounted on the first 50 Figaro 3s. Multiplast’s new manufacturing process, particularly reliable and economical, is adaptable for manufacturing foils for other monohulls or multihulls, with sail or with an engine.  More information: