architecture and naval engineering
Creation and design of yachts and ships.
Coordination of the craftsmen and trade association, follow-up of construction, testing and development.
Refit, restoration and modifications of yachts and ships.

The VATON DESIGN Office is the BGV’s creator (international patents), fast multihulls “trimaran type” crafts.
Gilles Vaton, born 12 april 1952 in Quimper, France, started his career as a naval architect in André Mauric's prestigious Marseille office. He was involved in many innovative projects such as the keel-less Méridien and Kriter as well as the design of eventually mass-produced boats like the Jeanneau Mélody and the early Bénéteau Firsts.
This 5-year term followed his working in England and France with Illingworth, Nicholson and Rouillard, a period in which he also crewed and then sailed solo in the Whitbread and Ostar 76 round-the-world races respectively.
Around this time, he designed a one-tonner in collaboration with A. Maupas.  
He set up his own office in Marseilles in 1979, a commission to design a 40' yacht for the 'Beg Rohu' National Sailing School providing a solid start to his activities.  
In 1980, C. Heidsieck III brought success to Alain Gabbay, his good results giving the Vaton office further impetus. IOR maxis such as Coriolan and maxi cruise yachts like Arrayan, Blooper and Vogue followed on rapidly.
New, innovative solutions applied to many maxi cruise yachts built in the 80s and 90s were consolidated the Vaton reputation.

Many examples :

Big 100% - centreboard yachts:
Whither  (twin-rudder, twin motor)
Vogue (twin-rudder, twin motor, battenned sails, garaged tender, etc. )

Big maxis and retracting keels :
Arrayan II (Award super-yacht 1993).
Garcia 90'
Launet 70'
Garcia 100'

Mass-produced 100% - centreboard boats :
Kelt 8m50 integral centerboard - 'Boat of the Year' 85/86  (1100 built)
Kirie 586 integral centerboard
345 integral centerboard
30' integral centerboard
385 integral centerboard
39'  integral centerboard

Racing yachts and 'cruiser-racers'
Milène 70 IOR
Chimère 40' IOR
Bella Dona 45'
Javelin 75'
de Scheppper 85'
Mr. Fip's 60'
Zurbagan 90’ (Award super yacht 2007)

Racing multihulls and fast-cruiser catamarans
Charles Heidsieck   (26 x 26 m tri foiler)
Provence alpes Côte d'Azur (23 x 23 m tri foiler)
Kaimiloa (20 m catamaran)
Liz  (24 m catamaran)
Nahema 90 to 150’

In 2001, a 100-foot all-carbon Cruiser-Racer, repeating the Arrayan II retracting-keel concept, was designed and constructed with Bureau Véritas supervision and approval.
A 90- to 120-foot range of such cruiser-racers, using composite construction, is currently on the Vaton drawing boards.
In the period 2001/2002, the 88' boat designed for Jean-Luc Van den Heede beat the round-the-world (beating-the-wind) record, attaining 11.3 knots close-hauled at 22/33° to the apparent wind. The average speed achieved by Jean-Luc sailing solo, was 9.2 knots at around 50 % close-hauled!
Simultaneously, the Vaton team was also working on America's-class boats, validating their design concepts by computer calculation using the ICARE programme, followed up with tank testing at the DGA facility in Val de Reuil.
The 600m-long Val de Reuil tank was also used for testing high-speed passenger ferry designs including the famous BGV-type pseudo-trimaran with its highly-individual hull design (semi-displacement fin, planing effect).
Currently, the Vaton office is involved in several Catamaran Motor Yacht projects: 16, 19, 24 and 30-metre models are at the construction stage and a bigger 35m version is being studied.
A 52m Schooner is also under construction with its 62m version on the drawing board.
A conventional 90' Cruiser-Racer (with America's-type hull and appendages) will be built soon.
Also being studied are various Motor Yacht concepts incorporating semi-planing hulls, forms already tested on passenger vessels with their stringent design requirements for wave comportment.

Gilles Vaton currently works with the following shipyards:
Abeking & Rasmussen
H2X yachts / La Ciotat
Tréhard (Antibes Marine Chantier)
2006: Zurbagan, 90 feet built at Garcia-Yachts sail his first boards and holds its promises by showing exceptional performances. It will take down the suprème reward in 2007 with the ISS award awarded to the best yacht of the year in the category sailboats from 23 to 36 m.
Project of 301 feet schooner neo-classic
Project of 41 mtr extreme Fast cruiser  all carbon
Adrien from the Vaton Design office. In 2004 Jean-Luc Van den Heede became only the third single-handed sailor of the history of yachting to go round the world without stopover against the dominant winds and currents - setting up a new record!
Creation of the line of motor boats Expression
Arrayan II, an exceptional 35m yacht built in 1992 by Abeking & Rasmussen (Bremen), one of the most prestigious shipyards in the world.
1980: Charles Heidseick III misses victory by so little in the Whitbread general classification.
The Azores anticyclone playing a dirty trick on him!
Vaton Design - 9 bis, rue Protis - 13007 Marseille - phone: 33 (0)4 91 54 00 00 - fax: 33 (0)4 91 54 82 40 - e-mail:

Computerised design

The Vaton office has used the CIRCE program designed by Marc Pommelet since the early 80s, enabling high productivity along with precision quality, particularly for the preparation of 1:1 scale drawings.
All the necessary 3D structural drawings for plasma cutting of the whole metallic structure and also the templates can thus be supplied.
Computerised images mean that the client will have the benefit of a 'virtual' model right at the early pre-project stages.
We can thus design directly in 3D: layout and equipment, deck and structural images etc.

Our CAD tools:
" CATIA Marine

Sailboat hull design is optimised using a flow chart that is 'smoothed out' with computerised design programmes for varying speeds and trim conditions. Velocity Predictions based on the above tests are then drawn up for presentation to the client.
Tank testing frequently goes hand-in-hand with this theoretical work in order to provide practical comparisons.
Motorised yacht and trimaran hulls are design-optimised using the ICARE programme directly, with planing effect and wave behaviour once more validated on large-scale models at the Val de Reuil tank testing facilities.
Our philosophy is that a project's true worth is appreciated by a client some years after the original launching.

For us, Quality Design results from an astute mixing of the following parameters:
" justifiable innovations
" a hull optimised for specific purpose
" a design with character
" balance - in all speed and trim conditions
" reliable, robust construction
" a practical and professional deck layout
" well-designed rigging, even slightly over-sized
" elimination of unnecessary risks
" client advisory service

Experience is a trump-card and changes are always justified.
The client's satisfaction is our aim.