Safran in the shed

Last major refit for Marc Guillemot's titanium-keeled IMOCA 60 prior to the Vendee Globe start

Friday February 10th 2012, Author: James Boyd, Location: France

In La Trinité-sur-Mer, the technical team behind Marc Guillemot's IMOCA 60 Safran campaign has been busy. Their VPLP Verdier designed 60 was taken out of the water after the Transat BtoB and since December has since benefitted from her final winter refit prior to the start of the 2012-2013 Vendée Globe in nine months time.

Skipper Marc Guillemot explains: “Everyone is well aware that this is the final long stay in the yard before the start in Les Sables d'Olonne on 10 November. Some relatively important modifications are being made, but because of their strategic importance, I can’t give you any more details. What I can say however is that we’re carrying out a complete check up of the boat, which has been put into solo sailing mode, with, in particular, a close inspection of the hull and the structure to be certain that there has been no delamination.”

The Safran skipper adds: “We have also carried out ultrasound tests on the keel to check that everything is in order. We’ve also taken another look at the steering system and redone it from A to Z with the help of the designers and engineers from Safran. Finally, we have, of course, repaired the damage caused by the collision with PRB and Virbac-Paprec in St. Barts on the starting line of the Transat BtoB: painting, replacement of the stanchions, etc. Safran is due to be put back in the water on 15 March.”

[Ed: So there is no news about her titanium keel fin...]

In the yard, around ten people have been working full time on the boat, helped by a few sub-contractors. Team manager, Thierry Brault, explains: “This is real team work and my job is to coordinate all of the different jobs with those in charge of each sector: hydraulics, composite materials, mast, etc. We have regular meetings and have a very detailed schedule to ensure she will be launched on 15th March. For the moment, we’re on track. Everything is going well.”


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