at sea, Charlie Dalin “invents” his new seaplane

With his feet on the boat but his mind turned to the next Vendée Globe, skipper Charlie Dalin, second in the 2020/2021 edition, is inspired by his outings at sea to “invent»A state-of-the-art seaplane.

The black jacket “Apivia” combined with his sails, the remote control of the autopilot on his neck, the sailor rides on his 18-meter monohull, from the deck to the sails, suspended from the ropes.

On the edge of Concarneau (Finistère), Charlie Dalin sails in search of ideas to optimize his next machine, from the ergonomics of the cabin to the dimensions of the foils, side appendages that allow “fly” the boat on the water.

As he prepares for the Route du Rhum, a solo transatlantic regatta (starting November 6) and his last race at the helm of the yacht with which he participated in his first Vendée Globe in 2020/2021, he is analyzing their performance to improve it. improve.

Its new Imoca, the flagship of the Vendée Globe, will be launched in May 2023 and should, in theory, allow it to win. “about a day and a halfon his next solo tour of the world. He had completed the last one in 80 days and 6 hours at sea.

At the head of much of the round the world, he crossed the finish line first, but finished second when time offsets after rescuing a shipwreck were taken into account.

Given the outcome of the latter, my story with the Vendée is not over“smile the boss, it will start”to win“.

The skipper keeps his project a secret

The characteristics of its new ship are defined according to the limitations of the queen race, its winds against and its “heavy seas“.

“Each race has its own specificities. If you want to win the Vendée Globe, you need a helmet made for sailing in both the Indian Ocean and the Pacific. If we wanted to win the Route du Rhum at all costs, we would only focus on Atlantic conditions.explains Charlie Dalin, winner of the 2019 Transat Jacques Vabre.

Race reports, which keep track of his speed along routes, allow him to a posteriori target geographic points where he was less efficient.

From his last round the world, remember that it’s best to do it better when the wind blows from behind and from the sides.

Of the technical advances of the new machine, it is not possible “say nothingapologizes: the competition is fierce, the innovations precious.

A trained naval architect, Charlie Dalin is “very involved“in”all phases of design», Studies the plans and the pieces drawn in 3D.

In these competition boats, “only the mast, the boom (which directs the mainsail) and the keel are standardized: the rest must be invented.»

Efficiency rather than comfort

A dozen people work on the design of the sailboat, fifteen on its construction. When not at sea, Charlie Dalin inspects the Port-la-Forêt shipyard.

It’s a bit like a house: the architect works mainly according to the tastes and habits of those who will occupy it.“, compares Charlie Dalin.

From your current boat, you will keep the cabin closed which, if you take out “some visibilityit protects you from bad weather during maneuvers that sometimes take more than forty minutes.

Sitting in a folding seat, his hands clinging to the straps and his feet resting on a piece of yellow rope, Charlie Dalin mimics the “safe position“who can stay for”hourswhen the sea is rough.

Next to it, a narrow gap is reserved for the ottoman that he installs for his sporadic naps. On the new ship, comfort will continue to be the “last priority“.

Launched from the courtyards in 2018, the old one will be sold next year to the Banque Populaire team and will kick off the next Vendée Globe, in 2024, with Clarisse Crémer, twelfth in the latest edition, at the helm.


SEE ALSO – “Crossing the finish line at the head will not take away from me”: Charlie Dalin looks back at his Vendée Globe

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