Cheminees Poujoulat back in action
Bernard Stamm's IMOCA 60 Cheminées Poujoulat is almost back from the brink after the Transat Jacques Vabre last autumn when she was holed during a collision with an unidentified floating object causing her hull to flood. With the vessel beginning to flounder, so Stamm and co-skipper Jean-Francois Cuzon were rescued from on board by helicopter and taken to the Azores. Stamm subsequently salvaged the boat (read the full story of this here) which was then shipped back to France.
Over the winter repair work has been carried out. A new section of the bow was made up by Cheminées Poujoulat's builders Decision SA in Switzerland. This rectangular section measures 15sqm in size and was delivered to Brest from the Swiss yard in Switzerland in early February. It has since been fitted to Cheminées Poujoulat's starboard side where the damage occurred and then faired and painted.
A new coachroof is also being fitted to the boat, built by JMV Industries in Cherbourg.
Unfortunately when Cheminées Poujoulat flooded this destroyed her electronics and electrical systems as well as her engine - all of which have also had to be replaced.
"For now, we're on schedule which is satisfactory, but we still have a lot of work to do," says Stamm. Cheminées Poujoulat is due to be returned to the water in early April.
To undertake this work, Stamm has enlarged his team to 20 people and has replaced Technical Manager Jean Le Huérou Kérisel with Philippe Laot. Laot is an avid experienced sailor who has sailed around the world and completed eight transatlantic crosses. "He began by observing the boat and how we were organised," says Stamm. "Now, he oversees all the work, ensures that the job is done well and that deadlines are kept while on my side I organise and manage."
Loat added: "My role is to ensure that Bernard has a reliable machine for the next Vendée Globe. To sail a boat, harness energies, multiple skills, and each of them, ultimately, make a coherent whole, able to confront the demands of a world tour."
Cheminees Poujoulat is to be one of the boats on the start line of the IMOCA class' Europa Tour, due to set sail from Istanbul on 5 May. This race is fully crewed and will visit Barcelona and Portugal before a final leg is sailed to La Rochelle singlehanded.
After this, Cheminees Poujoulat will be present at Brest 2012 over 13-19 July before the team concentrate on optimising their Juan K -designed IMOCA 60 for the singlehanded round the world race starting on 10 November.