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It is a tragic accident that has remained anchored in our memories: on Friday June 7, 2019, three SNSM volunteers disappeared at sea, off Sables d’Olonne, during a perilous rescue mission at sea carried out in extreme conditions. Among them, Yann Chagnolleau, a 54-year-old man, who had just retired from fishing boss. “My children nicknamed him Papy Chichi”, smiles his son, Jérémy Chagnolleau, a fisherman since 2003.

He was in Douarnenez this Monday morning to witness the launching of his new trawler, aptly named “Papy Chichi”. This imposing ship (14.38 m long and 7 m wide), whose home port will be Les Sables-d’Olonne, was designed by the naval architect Pont-l’Abbiste Coprexma, and built at the shipyard Gléhen, in Douarnenez. Just like her sistership “Les Chignolles”, launched in October 2020 and almost identical since the two boats are in reverse symmetry.

The Grandpa Chichi, an imposing vessel, is a trawler built at the Gléhen shipyard in Douarnenez. (The Telegram / Dimitri L’hours)

“A big challenge”

They are the property of the Vendée armament company Belle Alliance, of which Jérémy Chagnolleau is a shareholder. “I am associated with the Gendreau cannery, based in Saint-Gilles-Croix de Vie, and two wholesalers. We have invested € 5 million in these two ships, it’s a hell of a challenge ”, explains Jérémy Chagnolleau. “There will be four sailors on board each ship. We will fish for sardines in Saint-Gilles-Croix de Vie, four to five months of the year, and other species such as cuttlefish or squid the rest of the time ”.

And if it is indeed off the Vendée and in the Bay of Biscay that the “Papy Chichi” and “Les Chignolles” will sail, the shipping line has chosen Douarnenez to ensure its construction. “The feeling was very good with Gaël Guillemin, the general manager of the Gléhen shipyard. We appreciated the way he struggled to set up the cold system we wanted to use on this vessel to sear sardines at a temperature between 0 and 4 °. And the Gléhen shipyard enjoys a solid reputation, ”explains Jérémy Chagnolleau.

“Well aware of what it represents”

The site, which began in November 2019 for the Chignolles and then three months later for the Grandpa Chichi, has mobilized around twenty people (including subcontracting), according to Gaël Guillemin. “It’s a compact ship, which optimizes comfort on board”, he explained a few minutes before seeing Jérémy Chagnolleau’s brother, Adrien, smash a bottle of champagne on the hull of the boat to baptize it, before its launch. “In October it was one of my two sons, Ethan, who baptized the first boat. He is not here this time, but he is well aware of what it means to see the boat so baptized, ”specifies Jérémy, who turns 34 this Tuesday, February 23. This is a nice birthday present.

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