After Structures presented the new Pogo3 at the Boot Duesseldorf the scow-like bow is topic for discussion in various sailing media (although by far not the first appearance if you take e.g. the MACIF Open 60 into account which won the last Vendee Globe in 2012).
During training with Lorient Grand Large last october/november I had the pleasure of training against almost all of the latest three generations of Mini 6.50 series boats including the Pogo3 (white hull without a number).
After training I took advantage of the situation and took photos of all of the series boats and two protos (754 from 2009) and the latest proto #865 from 2014.
When you compare the photos it is interesting to see the deck rise (the green pogo1 having a pretty flat deck, no rise towards the bow) and then see the volume coming down and forward.
The alleged speed advantage of 0.5 knots upwind (which is being quoted a lot when talking about the Pogo3) has not been visible during training with any of the new designs, so far all of the generations were keeping up quite well in the various conditions we encountered from 3kn to 28kn and 3m waves.
But I suppose it’s just a matter of time until the sailors figure out all the tweaks and are able to use the full potential of the latest generation boats. Especially during the video debrief of our training sessions it became obvious that the mast trim of the Pogo3s was not optimal yet and they are also still experimenting with different sails and keels.
It will be very interesting to see how quickly the sailors will come to grips with the stacking/weight trim and the boats are fully commissioned for racing.
The advantages of the new hulls are immediately visible in reaching conditions with the medium kite or Code5 where they clearly develop more power and stability than the older designs. And even in very light winds the new designs don’t seem to be handicapped: I guess it’s true that the Pogo2 and Pogo3 have the same wetted surface.
The final thing to see is whether the new designs will have teething problems (like the rudder fittings that were trouble for the Pogo2 and Nacira models initially) or whether they will claim the podium immediately. The Argo and RG650 now have their teething phase behind them and should be strong competitors as well.
We’ll know more in April when the first longer races of the season start.