Quite stupid question, why build a new boat when we have one of the most efficient Imoca in the fleet?
The question is not stupid, we asked ourselves the same question. In fact, we tried to project ourselves into 2024 and imagine where we would be with Charal 1 (editor’s note: VPLP plan) and what were the optimization paths on this boat, we estimated that with all that we saw in the last Vendée Globe that we were at a stumbling block in terms of development. So the solution was to go with a new boat, it was necessary.
Except that the Vendée Globe was won by a boat of the old generation: why do something new at all costs?
The performance of Charal 1 is not in question and the boat had ample potential to win the Vendée Globe. Afterwards, we saw that in the southern seas, especially at downwind speeds in difficult sea conditions, the boats had lower potential. We had worked a lot on Charal 1 by changing the foils, changing the bow and all the masses inside the boat, but downwind we had a limit. With Charal 1, we clearly did not find the solution, we were stagnating and besides, no foiler could find it to go fast downwind. The drift boats went as fast in VMG as the foilers.
There is the rounded bow, the foils, the widths and the masses of the boats: yes, we know that the Occitane in Provence (editor’s note: Manuard plan led by Armel Tripon) is a boat easier downwind, able to hold higher averages downwind than Charal 1 and the other foilers. In the South, the two fastest boats were Charal 1 and L’Occitane en Provence. Sam Manuard’s concern is not to have the fastest boat, but to have the boat that the sailor is going to be able to handle quickly.
Why did you choose Samuel Manuard and not VPLP or Verdier?
There is a profile of Navigator Architect. There are others but he has the experience. I get along very well with him and the rest of the team as well. Sam Manuard has built a team around him, they are people with whom we are happy to work. When we engage with people, we stay loyal, that’s what we did with VPLP throughout the campaign. We designed Charal 1 with them and we made it evolve with them. The goal is to do the same with Samuel Manuard. Relationships are clearly very important because you live three to four years with these people. With Sam Manuard, we exchange, we each have our convictions, everyone has their own way of seeing things. We also have a design office in place and we had to find someone who would agree to work transparently with this design office. It is not an architectural firm alone in its corner and a skipper on the other side. We’ve been working together for five months and it’s going really well.
Will Charal 2 look like L’Occitane en Provence or not?
A lot of work has been done around the bow, on the spatulation. We do not hide that we have worked on the bow of Charal 1 again, which will be even more spatulated. Then there are sections of the width of the boat, more or less shoulder, more or less wide boat. Manuard’s benchmark is Occitane en Provence, us, our benchmark, is Charal 1 with tighter lines. It was interesting to compare the two concepts and until the end, we studied quite different concepts, that was my request. What I like about Samuel Manuard is that he is not afraid to be avant-garde and to assume his ideas but I also wanted him to be able to question them and this has been doing since the start of the study. To see what happens, we’ll have to wait a bit… (laughs). The launch is scheduled for June 30, 2022.
How much do you estimate the speed gain between Charal 1 and Charal 2?
Perhaps, on paper, Charal 1 is the best boat, but we quickly saw, in the operation of the boat, that there were limits in terms of attitude. In pure performance, we saturate. The new boats may not be faster on paper, but on average and in terms of potential exploitation by the skipper, we believe that there are big gains to be made.
You are announcing a price of between 5 and 6 million euros: a new foiler does not cost more than that?
No, we are on the same construction prices. We already have a team in place, we do a lot of things internally and the difference is there. The cost of design and construction remains the same, but we take care of a lot of things internally. There is an economy of scale there.
Is the Vendée Globe really your race, the one you absolutely want to win?
Of course I really want to win this Vendée Globe. There is also the environment in which I operate. The whole design and preparation part is just exciting. I work with the best architects and technicians, you have the time to do things, to go into details, to navigate. You never want it to stop. I have a dream daily life so why stop.
When the next Transat Jacques Vabre (1) arrives, if we put 4.5 million euros on the table to acquire Charal 1, will you sell it to us?
Uh… Yes, well… Today it is not for sale and I am not the owner of the boat. We plan to keep the 1 until the launch of the 2 on June 30, 2022. Charal will decide the timing of the sale of the boat. We have already had requests for the purchase before the start, during and at the finish of the Vendée Globe. It is a boat that has exceptional potential.
Three months after a difficult Vendée Globe, finished in 13th place nine days after the winner, we have the impression that Jérémie Beyou is pumped up to the max?
I rested well, I returned to sport, I am sharp, I just announced some good news, we are going to put Charal 1 back in the water, the weather is nice (laughs): yes, it’s going well.
(1): that Jérémie Beyou will argue with Christopher Pratt.
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