I am a huge fan of Pogo Structures, especially since I did my first fast miles aboard the Pogo 40. It´s a very special kind of sailing: Fast, pristine and very special. Unlike any other sailing experience, it was my time aboard the Pogo 40 that kind of imprinted something within me, striving for a fast transit, opting for the quicker route and hoping for the stronger breeze. Pogo Structures keeps on fascinating me, be it the bigger fast-cruisers or the smaller ones, of which the Pogo 30 certainly would have been an ideal boat for me, unfortunately in many ways unaffordable in my current situation. Anyway, news from the yard are always a highlight: Such as their last announcement of launching a new Pogo 40.

Verdier´s latest racing rocket … Pogo 40 S4

This new Pogo 40 S4 is the latest iteration of their Class 40 racing line and I am humbled and take personal pride in the fact that despite being absolutely suffocating in work on the prototype, Erwen Tymen of Pogo Structures agreed to answer some questions on the new boat and also take some pictures of hull #1 in the making.

Talking to Erwen Tymen of Pogo Structures

Lars Reisberg | NO FRILLS SAILING.com: “It´s quite a time since release of the Pogo 40 S3 for her predecessor to arrive – how many units of the S3 have been built and how successful did this boat race in the Class 40 circus?”

Erwen Tymen | POGO STRUCTURES: “Well of the last iteration of the Pogo 40, the S3, all in all five units have been built and sold. These boats sailed and raced with more or less success in a wide range of regattas and also won some very nice places on the podium, like in RORC, Antigua-Bermuda Race, Cowes Dinard, the Channel Race, Cervantes Trophy to name just a few. The Pogo 40 S4 was born out of our wish to do great in the upcoming Transatlantic races.”

Vacuum infusion is a Pogo Structures signature capability

NO FRILLS SAILING.com: “When was the decision made to have an S4 developed and why?”

Erwen Tymen: “In essence this decision was made upon arrival of Guillaume Verdier´s studies on our then latest boat, the Pogo 3 and Pogo 650 Foiler. A strong wish to return to the Class 40 racing circus and to re-enter competition by offering a brand new design here as well.”

NO FRILLS SAILING.com: “What was the design brief like for the new S4? Which significant differences (in hull design, material, production techniques et cetera) does this boat have over her S3-precursor?”

Erwen Tymen: “That is a question ticking different boxes of a wide range of influences the new boat was developed by. Let me try put out some main ideas behind the new Pogo 40 S4: First of all we tried and I guess successfully managed to create a very versatile hull with a shape that creates a minimum of drag. At the same time it is a very powerful design, similar to the strength of the new Mini 650 Foiler, the Pogo 3, achieved by Verdier Naval Architects. I would say that the main difference to our old models is the very apparent massive – but also slender – sheer of the hull, the full bow as well, creating a whole new philosophy of sailing. The width of the boat is almost the maximum allowed by the Class 40 box rule but again, we I´d say we achieved the least possible drag and an almost ideal weight.”

An all new hull shape, expecially in the bow section

NO FRILLS SAILING.com: “… Guillaume Verdier seemed to get a whole new approach to the vox rule, looking at the boat´s renderings …”

Erwen Tymen: “The most prominent feature may be the bow section of the boat which might prompt you to this conclusion. The box rule is limiting the width of the bow, almost trying to avoid rounded-styles of bows but to limit the design to a “Scow”-like style. We pushed the rule to a point to utilize the last possible option and squeeze out the most power for our new hull. But it´s not just limited to the hull of course. Looking at the rigging, you might notice that we´ve also set back the geometry of the rigging as far abaft as possible, to foster the distribution of weight and strengthen the power of the fore-sail. All this is connected to Pogo Structure´s expertise in vacuum infusion building techniques which is mastered and cultivated by our company since 15 years. This as well allows us to push limits material-wise regarding quality and reliability of our boats. Everything, starting at the molds for the prototype to lamination and so forth is done inhouse in perfect precision.”

Improved upwind sailing characteristics

NO FRILLS SAILING.com: “Are there any numbers or calculations as how much faster the S4 will go over the S3 (or maybe other Class 40 designs)?”

Erwen Tymen: “Oh yes, of course! The designers have sketched out and developed a staggering number of dozens of iterations for the new hull and we have tested some 20 hull designs with CFD-software. The task was of course to find out which one was best fitting the design brief and offered the most promising compromise. To make a long answer short: New about a Class 40 in our boat will be the upwind performance. The new Pogo 40 S4 will in fact be very powerful upwind – very outstanding, rampant and I´d say that our new boat might be having the best VMG-potential upwind.”

A rare look onto the prototype

NO FRILLS SAILING.com: “Can you go into more detail on the specific design of the bow? I´ve noticed quite some efforts in this particular part of the boats – for example the distinct Lombard design in the Lift 40, or the LÓCCITANE IMOCA currently racing the Vendeé Globe.”

Erwen Tymen: “Guillaume Verdier managed to find the perfect equilibrium in the bow. The whole section is designed to combine the power of a big bow and the effect of the hull of the first two metres of waterline, reducing wetted surface and improving the passage of the hull through the water. Especially the construction of the bow inside required a lot of computing power and calculation to make it both robust and lightweight.”

NO FRILLS SAILING.com: “What will be the preferred racing environment for the new Pogo 40 S4?”

Erwen Tymen: “I can say that the boat will surely perform very well in almost all types of windspeeds, be it lighter conditions or heavy weather. The max width of 4.42 metres instead of 4.50 is a part of the concept to bring more versatility to the hull, especially upwind. I´d say it will of course be the capability of the skipper and their task to master the new powers of this magnificent boat.”

Still plenty of room for the skipper and equipment

NO FRILLS SAILING.com: “How has the boat been received by the class and the skippers? Any interesting people already in the process of ordering one?”

Erwen Tymen: “We are very happy of the class´s reactions and the feedback received by the skippers when we announced to return to Class 40. Many haven´t forgot about the fact that it was the Pogo 40 which in essence was the basic design for inaugurating the class itself. The fight for winning the Route du Rhum, the most prestigious of Class 40 regattas, is up and open right now. I know of 20 new boats currently in building process which will be competing against each other – the Class 40 is in full swing, just like Mini 650, which is very amazing and exciting!”

NO FRILLS SAILING.com: “What is Pogo Structures´ approach to the future? Will the well balanced mixture of high-velocity racer/cruisers plus a fine selection of one-design racing machines be the core of the company´s activity? What will a Pogo be like in 5 years? Any plans for foils?”

Erwen Tymen: “We´ve always done it and of course will do it in the future as well: All innovations we come up with for our racing boats will be most certainly in one or another form be incorporated into the designs of our fast cruisers. It´s this approach that enables us to offer technologically superior boats to our cruising clients and to utilize the advantages and keep up Pogo´s image. It´s this image that fascinated our clients and we are working hard to keep it up – not just as an image but as a real reputation fortified by our successful racing boats. A Pogo will always be fast and lightweight.”

Revolutionary hull shape …

NO FRILLS SAILING.com: “Last, not least, the obvious Corona-questions – how is the company dealing with the Covid 19-crisis? Any setbacks for the company in terms of production output? What is the spirit of Pogo´s clients like – are they hesitant and withhold/cancel orders or do you feel the often cited “Corona-Boost” of which we can read in the high glossy papers?”

Erwen Tymen: “Luckily we here in France´s Bretange haven´t been affected all too much by Corona. Our production capacity and output of boats has been constant. I can say that all of our clients have stayed true to their commitment towards us, no cancellations whatsoever. They agreed to maybe take a little more time to receiving their new boats and start sailing them. I can also say that we cannot feel such a “Boosting” nor a “Carpe diem”-effect. Our sales figures are up and well as they always have been.

ThanksErwen for taking some of your time off your busy schedule and also for photographing exclusively the prototype of the new Pogo 40 S4.

You may also like to read:

A new Class 40 by Marc Lombard

Talking about Akilaria RC 2 with Henrik Masekowitz

Gennaker fun on the Pogo 40