where it’s at

Being a bunch of west coast tree-hugging liberals, we actually give a shit about the environment and as a result, we generally applaud any efforts made to make yacht racing a more green and environmentally friendly endeavor.

And so we were stoked to come across French multihull legend Lalou Roucayrol’s latest innovative build that has just recently gotten underway at his Lalou Multi Shipyard in Verdon-sur-mer in the southwest of France.

From the same guys who built the crazy foiling, wing-sail equipped Mini Transat Arkema 3 and the innovative new Arkema 4 Multi 50 comes an evolution of both of those boats. After material developments made alongside long-time sponsor Arkema – a specialty chemicals and advanced materials company – Lalou Multi has embarked on perhaps their most ambitious project yet; a fully recyclable Class 40 that aims to compete in next year’s Route du Rhum. 

Skippered and overseen in it’s construction and management by 24 year old Guadaloupean skipper Kéni Piperol, this innovative new boat is a Marc Lombard design that is an evolution of the boat that Yoann Richomme sailed to victory in the 2018 edition of the Route du Rhum. Again employing a scow bow that has become all the rage in this class, the boat aims to balance the oftentimes brutal nature of the voluminous bow with more protection for the skipper.

What makes the boat most unique and ambitious however isn’t just it’s round bow that promotes righting moment, power and speed, it’s the fact that the entire structure of the boat is purpose-built to be recyclable. Utilizing a combination of Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) closed-cell foam for it’s core and Arkema’s revolutionary Elium resin that is also recyclable, all of the structures of the boat can ultimately be deconstructed through a pyrolysis process and recycled. After building much of the Arkema 3 Mini with Elium resin and traditional foam and then part of the Arkema 4 trimaran with the Elium resin / PET foam combination, the team is now embarking on the build of an entire boat using the recyclable Elium / PET combination. 

A two-time Mini Transat veteran, the young skipper from Guadalopue will oversee the construction of his new boat while also serving as a crew on the offshore stable’s new Arkema 4 Multi 50. When his new Class 40 is launched in September, Piperol hopes to compete in October’s Transat Jacques Vabre, before sailing in next year’s Route du Rhum and the inaugural Race Around in 2023-2024. Becoming a true ‘Swiss Army Knife’ in the words of his teammates at Lalou Multi, Piperol has worked as a skipper, composites intern and finally project manager, preparateur and boat builder; skills which should serve him well on this new ambitious journey to campaign his new Class 40 across the Atlantic and around the world.

Thanks to our friends at Voiles et Voillers for the heads up on this story! – Ronnie Simpson