The Breton competitive sailing ecosystem is unique. How do you see the role of the Eurolarge Innovation programme?
I am one of those convinced that having a team working on a common project is better for progress than working alone. For me, Eurolarge Innovation is the team that carries the goal: to promote regional economic development. It serves as a gateway to create connections between companies, institutions, research laboratories and major industries. Today, there are 162 companies working in competitive sailing in Brittany. Not all are members of the Eurolarge Innovation programme; we need to continue working on that.
What does membership bring?
Being of member of the programme means “hunting as a pack”. Eurolarge Innovation initiates projects and brings together the three or four companies which, by uniting their assets and talents, can reply to a specific request. Alone, they wouldn’t go for it. Together, they can submit an overall application… and it works! There are plenty of examples. I remember an order concerning Lorima, that we did for the CNRS. The company took huge risks, especially as we were operating outside the scope of offshore racing. But the Region of Brittany and the other partners who accompanied us also took financial risks alongside us. Another interesting aspect of Eurolarge Innovation is the conferences regularly organised concerning cutting-edge issues (foils or composite materials for example). As well as interesting content, these conferences are an effective way to meeting people and networking.
What are the future development perspectives for the sector?
Boating and other markets such as marine renewable energies or aeronautics containing a highly technical aspect that we are perfectly able to industrialise. However, we are not always trained in the specifics of these new sectors and we don’t always have the contacts. Eurolarge Innovation helps us to understand these new markets that we need to conquer. We also need to continue to develop internationally, especially in the English-speaking market. The sporting achievements of our athletes and major events such as the Yacht Racing Forum, brought by Eurolarge Innovation, shine a spotlight on the Breton competitive sailing ecosystem that works hand-in-hand. In this way, international contacts are taking a real interest in Brittany. ■
* Located in Lorient, the cradle of offshore racing in France, LORIMA is a world leader in the manufacture of carbon masts for racing or cruising yachts.