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[Back to] Online Techtalk #2 – electronics, pilot, rigging, life on board, the team experts have their say4 min de lecture

What is the technical assessment for the Vendée Globe?

Eurolarge Innovation offered two Brittany Sailing Valley® video cafes in April to take stock after the Vendée Globe. The second one, which took place on April 21, looked at the lessons learned by the teams in various fields (electronics, sails, ergonomics, etc.) Three speakers took part: Pierre-François Dargnies, technical director of the Charal Sailing Team , Jean-Charles Monnet, his counterpart on the Groupe Apicil sailing team, and the skipper Romain Attanasio (14th on Pure-Best Western).

Online Techtalk #2 :« electronics, pilot, rigging, life on board, the team experts have their say »

Electricity / electronics / autopilot

In the crucial field of automatic pilots, the three speakers were generally satisfied with the solutions that were chosen. According to Jean-Charles Monnet, Damien Seguin was “very happy with the NKE pilot, equipped with the latest version of the HR processor, which, in particular on ” target ” modes, steered like a top helm with his eyes closed”, the only problems encountered being related to connections and waterproofing sealing problems.

For his part, Romain Attanasio who was equipped with a B&G pilot fitted with the new H5000 inertial unit, did not encounter any major problems, apart from the loss of a wind indicator which was “probably not well secured.”

The same satisfaction was evident on the part of the Charal Sailing Team with the B&G WTP (wave technology processor) unit, fitted with an overlay designed by Pixel sur Mer, “a great improvement over the previous Vendée Globe”, according to Pierre-François Dargnies.

For Romain Attanasio, the real priority in terms of electronics is the system for detecting unidentified floating objects, used for the first time in the Vendée Globe: “It is no longer possible to sail Russian roulette, it is the main technology for me to develop.”

Sails / rigging / fittings

The three participants all told of misfortunes on this Vendée Globe: Jérémie Beyou tore off the tack fitting for Charal’s headsail which resulted in a chain of damage which forced them to turn around after three days of racing. “This part, which had done the equivalent of 20,000 miles, broke at the worst time,” regrets Pierre-François Dargnies. Charal’s skipper also tore his J2, which he had to do without for three weeks in the South. This prompted the technical director to say: “We are going to start again with a slightly different matrix to have a little more solid sails for the future. The sails topic for us is a priority, as the new rule opens up possibilities with more mast rake, we will adapt the shapes to this change.”

Romain Attanasio, for his part, had a lot of problems with a broken mainsail reef hook in the descent down the the Atlantic – “I went around the world with a reef in the mainsail” – the tear of his little gennaker, but also of his big one. Conclusion: “These boats are very big for one guy on his own, you have to know your boat really well and intervene when you have a problem, because everything happens very quickly.”

On the Apicil side, Damien Seguin also tore his two gennakers, but the team welcomed the choice to take a sail with a surface area close to that of the J2, used in the South Seas, which has allowed to keep the latter intact for the climb up the Atlantic.

Life on board

All the sailors have said it again: life on board the Imoca can sometimes be almost impossible. For Pierre-François Dargnies, Jérémie Beyou suffered from the noise of the foils, “unliveable in the long term”, and from the permanent damp and wetness due to the lack of ventilation in the living area with Charal’s closed cockpit design.

On board Apicil, the elongated roof cap was well appreciated – “We copied a bit from Charal, we are quite happy with the result”, confirms Jean-Charles Monnet – while Romain Attanasio, who, to lighten his boat had “spent three years removing everything”, promises: “At a comfort level, it was such a hassle, I will be more careful on the next boat.” His new boat is Boris Herrmann’s ex Malizia, which he has just acquired thanks to the arrival of a new partner, Fortinet.