50 years in paris

50 years in paris

The 50th anniversary of the Paris boat show (Salon Nautique) finished on Sunday with an eclectic mix of top level events, new designs, announcements as well as historical projects and innovations.
Eric Taberly’s individual spirit is still alive and the dedicated display of his life and exploits was a great experience even if you are not one of the 85% French visitors who come to the show.
French or not, walking down the streets in Paris is sporting enough, which teaches you how to do the “Japanese” in the Metro!

The Barcelona World Race starts in two weeks so naturally there was a big presence by Organizers and competitors who have plans to race the Vendee Globe but need to “press the flesh” to find sponsorship or because they “do” have sponsors.
The BWR, 15 teams, is a great format to help sailors who want to do a Vendee Globe but need experience, a missing sponsor, or a mentor. Sebastian Audigane who sailed on the Orange catamaran and said he wanted to sail the Vendee Globe, two years ago during the Ecole Navale is now doing the BWR. He will be sailing with Kito de Pavant on their Groupe Bel which could be a stepping stone for the Vendee Globe. Armand Coursodon is another. He sailed on a Jules Verne boat Geronimo and “China Team” during the America’s Cup and found a Polish skipper with a sponsor through the IMOCA organizers.

You have only a short time to sail together, after a paint job, new sails, what are the difficult spots of the race course and is there a “pack mentality?

Armand: “The equator is the only place of the course that you have pass two times. There can be anything from no wind to 35knts, so managing sail changes and avoiding breakages are important. With an older boat, it doesn’t make sense to follow the pack, or the faster boats so we will play our other cards.”

The Barcelona World Race is definitely changing the dynamic and creating new opportunities for sailors and the public internationally.

Vendee Globe: The inscription for the Holy Grail of Solo sailing, the Vendee Globe, with anticipated 23 boats, was officially opened, with its new rules, it included plenty of familiar faces in the solo sailing world. An increase of overall prize money to 600,00 Euros and new rules concerning masts/and keels were announced as well as a start date/time, to get out the maximum Wednesday out of school crowd.

Asking what the new rules meant:
Brian Thompson
(on standby for the Jules Verne attempt aboard Maxi Tri Banque Populaire):“I think it is to limit the ‘Gorilla Boats’… meaning, designers who create a very powerful boats but sailors (or materials) are not able to cope."Vincent Riou: “I think the IMOCA has made a good choice to provide a level playing field and not make the boats built over the last four years obsolete. People have seen that there is a good level of competition. For a sailor interested in solo sailing? I think the steps are; mini 6.50, Figaro solo, Class 40 and IMOCA 60”

All it takes is walking around the Paris Boat show, and you will find evidence of the Finot-Conq design office everywhere. They are diverse: IMOCA boats, dinghies with reusable basic materials, Electric day boats (extremely well thought out) and their latest lifting keel 60ft performance cruiser as well as their Class 40 Pogo boats. The concept is simple for their latest big boat, the lighter the boat, the less sail area needed, less power needed for cruisers, performance but allowing a shallow draft for protected anchorages.

When you go to a boat show, make sure you walk all the isles. If you don’t you might miss the“Flying board”  …The question is… what is the opening for in front?   To see the fish?…. Its a little more complex than that and look forward to your answers.

Slower, but just as much in the mix, is what I like to call the “Jute Boy”. Coretin, Tara-tari,  set out to develop a building solution for the Bangladesh fishermen who needed a reliable boat. His effort was to develop, or prove, the concept of the local material “jute” as a replacement for glass fibre which would normally bring in outside builders, technologies, but not develop local economies. I first met him in La Rochelle at the Grand Pavois, boat show and it looked rough at first. He has definitely done the miles and talked to a lot of people about his project which has generated enough viable support to continue his project.   

Nonetheless, the many positive, humanitarian aspects of his projects will touch sailors and people around the world and I encourage you to explore his efforts as an example of what is possible. 

The French-American replica of the Hermione launched its final countdown for 2012. The Hermione has been in construction in Rochefort for the last ten years to reenact the efforts by the French commander Lafayette to come to the aide of the struggling American country. It was the Volvo 70 of its time but with cannons and pushing some serious water. 

The international aspect of the show picked up when Franck Camas and his sponsor Groupama announced their crew lineup for the upcoming Volvo ocean race.  The last French entry, for the then Whitbread was in 1993, so it is fitting that Franck Camas coming from his victories in the Jules Verne, Around Britain Race, and Route de Rhum should help celebrate a French event, the Salon Nautiqe an in part honoring Taberly.

For his first crewed "monohull Anglo" effort, he has his core team but also experienced Volvo racers including Damian Foxhall, Sebastian Josse, Ericsson4 Swedes, Kiwis, Aussies, America’s Cup veterans, and Juan K. The question was posed to the director of Groupama at the press conference: Why not an America’s Cup? "We talked about it and what Franck wanted to do sports wise. We decided it didn’t suit our image and goals."

Asked about what he meant to "internationalize"? "EuroAsia" so for the 17 million Euro budget they plan to spend, it will cover their intended market and will be much more reasonable cost than an America’s Cup campaign.  Although it was pointed out that the first several boats that Franck sailed were not successful especially for an Insurance company.

Sebastian Josse: After your other Volvo experiences, how does it feel to start the Volvo on a French boat? "Of course I am very proud." Later on it was the sounds of Abba which moved their post announcement celebration into second gear at the Trocadero….

Volvo – Part of the Groupama presentation was the Volvo, a flashback and current affairs.
Back then it was crates of beer and wine but now 10 ports, inshore racing, workouts and freezedried.The containment rules, sails, boats, and days sailing have forced teams to change their programs.
How can you judge if the rules are having the effect you are seeking?

Knut Frostad, "There will always be someone trying to get an edge but if we didn’t put some limits, it would eliminate some other teams getting involved and we can already see the desired positive effects."

Do you see new technologies like a “hydro generator” changing the dynamic and making it possible to create an engineless boat, like some are competitors are proposing with IMOCA boats?

"Yes, technology is moving in that direction but no, it is a safety issue. Trying to recuperate someone in 20 knots of breeze (or maneuvering inshore) will make engines necessary to ensure safer navigation."

Obviously there is a lot more to be recounted at the show which can only be experienced first hand….Photos

Lyn Hines