Following a winter refit lasting two and a half months, Marc Guillemot's IMOCA 60, the boat in which he and Charles Caudrelier won the last Transat Jacques Vabre was relaunched on Friday 16 April at her homeport of La Trinité-sur-Mer. A busy race season lies ahead for Safran, concluding with the Route du Rhum-La Banque Postale, an event that her skipper knows well.
Everyone is pleased and upbeat with the relaunch - pleased because all the jobs that needed to be done were accomplished and everything ran to schedule. Between six and eight people worked in the yard to ensure the grey and orange 60 footer would improve her potential that little bit more again.
“The refit was carried out in two stages,” explained Thierry Brault, Team Manager. “After a complete overhaul of the hull, the structure, the keel, mast and all the necessary repairs, we set about reducing the weight of Safran. To achieve that, we were once again able to take advantage of the expertise of the engineers in the Safran Group. So we made more weight savings by changing the coach roof for example, but without compromising its strength.”
And everyone was happy, because the launch operation was carried out in brilliant sunshine. “The northeasterly wind was a bit nippy, but we fitted the keel in record time,” smiled Erwan Conan, the team’s composites expert.
Marc Guillemot added: “What’s nice about having a sponsor like Safran, is that we never stop and that suits me just fine!” Just as was the case during the construction phase, the Safran Group was heavily involved in the winter refit: each time it was necessary, engineers from the Group were consulted. The solutions aimed at improving performance and reliability were adopted after discussions with all those involved at regular meetings throughout the refit - engineers from Safran, designers, Marc and his team…. Once again, Safran has proved to be a sponsor quite unlike any other, as they are really involved and committed to ensuring the boat’s technical development.
In the middle of next week, Safran will be out sailing again in Quiberon Bay before heading for Douarnenez at the end of the month to take part in the Grand Prix there. She will be facing a new rival there: “Vincent Riou will be there with his new boat, built using the same hull mould as Safran. This first confrontation will therefore be particularly interesting. After that we will continue in June with a crewed race around Spain,” says Guillemot.
The big event on the 2010 calendar is of course the Route du Rhum-La Banque Postale, which will start from St Malo on 31 October. “This event marked the very beginning of my links with Safran. Four years ago, we hired a boat to take part. I didn’t have the right tool back then, but this time things are completely different.” Marc is already fully focused on this single-handed race that he hopes to add to his list of monohull racing successes, after finishing in second place aboard his trimaran, back in 2002.
2010 Race programme
Douarnenez Grand Prix (29 / 04 – 02 / 05)
Round the island of Belle-Île (7-9 / 05)
Round Spain Race (12-30 / 06)
Route du Rhum – La Banque Postale (31 / 10)