David Reason and the philosophy of the scow

The February edition of the British magazine Seahorse has just been published, with my article on the architect David Raison, author of a spectacular double at the end of 2019 on the ocean racing front.

Four pages on how David Raison imposed the concept of scows in ocean racing, which is to be read in Seahorse, available on newsstands or online.

While proto 650 No. 865, the name of baptism Maximum, won the Minitransat for the second consecutive edition, the first Class 40 designed by Raison crushed the competition in the Transat Jacques Vabre, establishing a new 24-hour reference time: 415.6 miles on two clock towers, or more than 17 knots on an hourly average. To make good weight, a Maxi 650, mini series due to the same architect improved the reference in 24 hours for its category, at 12.1 knots of average speed.

It is a real triumph for an architectural philosophy whose most spectacular mark lies in these "big noses" evoking the bow of a barge and translating a strong hull width in the front sections. It was ten years since Reason had begun to upset aesthetic and archirectural codes with his first boat, named Magnum for its resemblance to a certain icy stick, which after a delicate focus would soon win all the races at starting from which he lined up.

September 2010, I photograph for Sails and Sailors the test of the Magnum in La Rochelle (Photo F. Augendre)

The principle, inherited from the American scows that have been navigating inland bodies of water for decades, is to increase the stiffness to the canvas (and thus the power) by exploiting the width at the flotation not only in the middle of the boat or at the rear, but at the to the bow. Reason's genius was to apply it to ocean navigation, providing the right answers to the question of how this type of hull would behave in the open sea.

Once the validity of the concept was proven, the most curious was no longer the aesthetics that resulted from it, but the fact that it did not prolifelify more quickly. The Mini class, a fabulous architectural and technological laboratory, has finally seen the birth of several scows, the most extreme (and unfortunately too heavy) is the thick-veiled foiler Arkema, designed by Romaric Nayhousser, and whose test I had carried out 2017.

When the mini-foller takes flight (Photo F. Augendre)

Last year two construction sites launched standard mini scows, respectively on David Raison and Etienne Bertrand. It was also almost ten years before the first scows appeared in the Class 40… whose regulations had been amended to specifically prohibit big noses! How did Reason solve the problem, and beyond those round bows that do not sum up his architectural philosophy, what are the secrets of these incredibly efficient boats? To learn more, read Seahorse…