back to top arrow

Owen Clarke design are one of the world's leading companies of yacht designers and naval architects. We specialise in the design and naval architecture of high performance racing sailboats; particularly canting keel and foiling racing monohulls such as IMOCA Open 60s, of which we have designed eight boats for the Vendee Globe. We have considerable experience of working as part of a design team and have such a team assembled to work on an entry with lifitng foils for the upcoming Ocean Race. The majority of our 60s have been created by an extended design team of IMOCA, Volvo and Americas Cup designers and engineers. A methodology that we first began with the Kingfisher program. We have once again assembled such a team, reinforced by foil designers and hydrodynamicists from the Americas Cup to work on our next design for the Ocean Race and Vendee Globe 2024.

This is a 3D CAD image of a foiling IMOCA Open 60 racing yacht developed by our designers with fully lifting foils. It forms part of systematic series of hull and foil design geometries for what will be Owen Clarke’s ninth IMOCA 60. She is a fully foiling racing monohull with second generation fully lifting carbon fibre foils.

Our eighth and most recent Open 60, Acciona 100% Eco-Powered (now Offshore Team Germany) involved our most far reaching research and development program to date and once again included 1/7th scale, 1/3rd scale and CFD modelling. She was also the first IMOCA 60 zero emissions ocean racing yacht, which is to say she was designed to compete in the Vendee Globe without fossil fuels (diesel typically) of any kind aboard. Where an IMOCA Open 60 would normally have a diesel engine for auxiliary drive and power generation this was replaced by an electric motor and batteries charged by a system of high-performance solar panels and hydro-generators. The system was so efficient that the hydro-generators were only deployed for the first time in the Pacific Ocean.

This a screen grab image of CFD (computational fluid dynamics) analysis being undertaken on a pre-lifting foils Owen Clarke IMOCA Open 60 design.

Our Open 60 designs have consistently been the lightest or amongst the lightest and before a max limit was imposed also had the highest righting moment to displacement ratio in the fleet. Crucially, they have also proven to be at the same time extremely reliable with no retirements caused by a structural failure in dozens of Vendee Globes and well over a million racing miles in total. Our skippers have benefited from two decades of continuous engineering development with the exclusive involvement in our team of engineers from within composite engineering leader’s, SP Gurit. Together we created an integrated engineering design program with every Vendee cycle driving down the weight with an approach to the yacht’s structure quite different from that followed in France.

This is a global model of an Owen Clarke IMOCA 60 racing yacht undergoing finite element analysis (FEA)as part of a weight optimisation program aimed particularly at the deck structure. The FEA was undertaken by SP Gurit who were engaged to provide engineering consultancy services for the project. Owen Clarke have themselves a long history in carbon composite and other fibre reinforced engineering going back to their first design and structural engineering commission in 1987, an 11m racing multihull

In common with Acciona ground breaking electric propulsion and power generation system Owen Clarke have a history of innovation and developments that have subsequently been adopted by our competitors.

Kingfisher :  First Open 60 project to use tank and/or wind tunnel testing. First IMOCA to be fitted with central ballast and the three-forestay rig configuration adopted by the fleet and later by all Volvo 70s.

Ecover 2 :  First masthead rigged Open 60 and first using halyard locks and removable headstays.

Temenos : First offshore race boat to be built primarily with Kevlar honeycomb core.

Ecover3/Aviva : First 60s tank tested at 1/3rd scale and first with an interceptor trim control system.


These are two OC IMOCA Open 60 racing boats, sisterships, both fitted with interceptor plates. They were the first sailing yachts to be fitted with interceptors and the purpose is to act as trim tabs, reducing drag at high speed, a prime racing yacht design goal.

Owen Clarke Design have been involved in sailing and developing this hugely successful class for nearly thirty years. Our introduction to open 60s began in 1993/94 when Merfyn Owen took a sabbatical from Owen Clarke, rounded Cape Horn on Thursdays Child and skippered the BOC Challenge winning Groupe Sceta across the Atlantic the same year. Later, experience gained as project manager for the development and build of Mike Golding’s, Finot designed Team Group 4 led Owen Clarke to form the design team that created Ellen MacArthur’s Kingfisher. Crucially, OC also project managed the build and preparation of the yacht that a young Ellen sailed to victory in the 2000 Solo Transat and to a second in the Vendee Globe, less than a year after her launch.

Credit: Thierry Martinez

Kingfisher was Owen Clarke Design's first IMOCA 60 racing yacht design, skippered by Ellen Macrthur in the 2000 Vendee Globe

OC continue to keep up to date with the design evolutions in the IMOCA class, developing our own new designs as well as improving the performance potential of our current fleet. Our research and development programs are exclusive to the client for an agreed licence period, unless by previous arrangement (as was the case with Ecover 3 and Aviva) the program is jointly funded. In 2019 ex Acciona, now OTG 60 was re-launched with a new deck spreader rig, keel and ballast arrangement ready for a new lifting foil system. In 2020, ex Aviva, now Ariel 2 received a new IMOCA keel and Kingfisher updates to her ballast system and a round of other performance modifications in time for her fourth Vendee. Most recently we undertook all the work to modify EBAC (ex Spirit of Canada) from a classic rig, to a deck spreader rotating rig.

Credit: Jesus Renedo

Click image for video

Photograph of the 1/3rd scale tank research testing of the Owen Clarke Design IMOCA Open 60 yacht Acciona

To discuss your project contact: OC RACING

For an explanation of the technology behind the design process go to: NAVAL ARCHITECTURE

For an insight into our engineering and detailed design work go to: ENGINEERING

Privacy Policy | Web Design By Toolkit Websites