Juan Kouyoumdjian and Michel Desjoyeaux - skipper of the monohull Foncia - are representative of a new breed of designers and sailors. Race after race they make their mark on our age.
The designer and the remarkable sailor have now allied their skills with those of BENETEAU in the design of the new First 30.
Fuente info Team First 30
The first day out for the new First 30
Here we are, the first sailing session for the new First 30. On June 28th, we put the new First 30 to water. The day after, we were able to go sailing for the first time. Here are the pictures of this first session that took place with ideal weather conditions.
Let’s meet at the beginning of next week for the first sailing workshops.
The First 30 team
Headed by the boat designers and their respective teams, the First 30 team will be embarking this summer on a series of sailing events with the aim of completing the boat’s fine-tuning and compiling a tuning guide, which will be handed to new owners.
Guest professional sailors, journalists, BENETEAU customers as well as representatives of the best European sailmakers will be invited to take part in these sailing events.
The purpose of this blog is to give you a behind-the-scenes access to this experience.
Just after graduating as Naval Architect at the Southampton Institute, Juan Kouyoumdjian became designer for the America’s Cup. In 1995 he joined the challenging Le Défi Français team.
With the strength of his new experience and a growing recognition, in 1997 Juan Kouyoumdjian started his own naval architecture design company at Valencia. At first Juan Yacht Design designed sail-cruisers as well as racing yachts, but before long the design company began specialising in the design and completion of ultra-high performance racing yachts.
Juan Kouyoumdjian tasted adventure again as a key member of the French crew in 2000, then 3 years later joined the Italian challenger Prada design team. In 2007 he competed in his fourth Louis-Vuitton Cup with the American team BMW Oracle Design. His reputation became established during the Volvo Ocean Race with the joint successes of ABN Amro One in 2005/06 and Ericsson 4 in 2008/09, which he designed.
Since then the reputation of his design office, Juan Yacht Design, has become international. The name Juan Kouyoumdjian is now associated with success, and his design office is recognsied across the sailing world as being the most creative and innovative.
Although still only 38 years old, Juan Kouyoumdjian is today considered as the best naval architect there is. The French-Argentinian designer seems to want to follow in the tradition of his compatriot German Frers. Indeed, yachts designed by German Frers have also themselves been winners in some of the most prestigious sailing races around the world, such as the Volvo Ocean Race and the Admiral’s Cup.
Like his predecessor in the 1980s, Juan Kouyoumdjian has decided to bring his talents to the service to the BENETEAU First range, and build further on the attributes of the legendary First 30.
Michel’s childhood was spent in his father Henri’s boatbuilding yard. He spent his time making boats out of bark, then at the age of 18 he discovered the joys of design.
A friend asked him for assistance in the total renovation of his 6.50 metre Muscadet to compete in the next Mini Transat.
Together they spent the entire summer of 1983 with screwdrivers in hand, tightening nuts and bolts, wielding paintbrushes, renewing fittings.
This first experience in construction provided an understanding into how the various elements that make up a sailing boat are welded together. His vocation was confirmed.
His desire for knowledge and experience led him to embark the following year on the legendary Pen Duick VI, followed by a whole season on bard Philippe Jeantot’s catamaran.
Eric Tabarly recruited Michel, still only 20 years old, onto his crew and took him on his first fully crewed round the world race.
This was the beginning of a triumphant career. Up until today Michel Desjoyeaux has already triumphed in over 30 races, both monohull and multihull, single-handed or crewed, in local races around a handful of cans or around the world.
Although his talents as navigator are incontrovertible, every one of his successes has first been developed on dry land, overseeing the minutest details of the design and fine-tuning of his boats. Michel, a competitor through and through, is totally professional in his approach to his sport; he likes work to be well done and attaches great importance to innovation. He has no hesitation in making refinements to the smallest details in order to achieve better performance.
All the boats that he has worked on, whether as designer or sailor, bear his mark, and a number of his developments (canting keel under the hull, directional bowsprit etc.) have largely been adopted by the sailing world. His inventive mind gives him the ability to set new standards.
If those close to him may have given him pleasure in those early days by giving him the rather flattering title of "Professor", this was because Michel Desjoyeaux has always epitomised a great teacher, who loves to share his knowledge and encourages discussion from both within and outside his team.
For his unrivalled experience, technical skills and exceptional personal qualities, we are intensely proud that our Team First 30 is able to benefit from the inclusion of a technical advisor of Michel Desjoyeaux’s calibre.