Vendée Globe - Safran receives winter refit

Safran - Final winter refit before sailing around the world - Vendée Globe 2012
Vendée Globe 2012-2013, an around the world race for single handed sailors, will start from Les Sables d’Olonne on Saturday 10th November 2012.

Everyone in the Safran technical team has been busy. Taken out of the water after the Transat BtoB, Marc Guillemot’s 60-foot monohull has been benefiting from her final winter refit before the start of the Vendée Globe in nine months time, which makes it all the more motivating for the team.

In La Trinité-sur-Mer, there is a lot of activity going on around the Safran monohull. Since late December, around ten people have been working on her final refit before the Vendée Globe. 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. 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 skipper of Safran 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 15th March.'

Canadian 2.4mR sailor, Tracy Schmitt, preparing to leave the dock
Clagett/Thornton Cohen.

In the yard, all the members of the Safran Sailing Team are hard at work: around ten people are working all the time on the boat, helped by a few sub-contractors. The 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.'

Everyone is united around this project to achieve the same goal, which is to ensure that the Safran monohull will offer as good a performance and reliability as possible in the spring, and that she has been perfectly fine-tuned. Everyone is well aware of what is at stake here: they want to give Marc Guillemot the ultimate weapon so that he may once again go for the podium in the Vendée Globe… which is a huge motivation for all concerned.

Safran Sailing Team website
Vendée Globe website