Two and a half years after capsizing on the Route du Rhum 2018, skipper Armel Le Cléac’h and his team launched their new Banque Populaire XI trimaran on Tuesday. Who could allow the Breton to extend his record a little more in the coming years …
The Lorient pontoon neighbors did not want to miss this moment. It was under the watchful eye of Thomas Coville (Sodebo) and Franck Cammas (Gitana) that skipper Armel Le Cléac’h and his team launched their new Banque Populaire XI trimaran on Tuesday. The maneuvers started at noon ended at the end of the day, when the mast came to rest on the large bird which had discovered its new element a little earlier in contact with its floats on the water.
It took two and a half years of work to build this new “Ultime”, after the capsize experienced by the winner of the Vendée Globe 2017 during the Route du Rhum 2018. An experience that inevitably influenced the architects in terms of safety . “We were very touched by the accident, recalls the sailor, who remained alone for half a day on his dislocated trimaran while awaiting the arrival of a fishing vessel to rescue him. The boat was broken following a shock. with an ofni. We reinforced the structure and tried to imagine the same kind of impact so that the boat and the sailors on board were not in danger. “
A first test on the Transat Jacques-Vabre
On this trimaran 32 meters long and 23 wide, “almost three tennis courts next to each other”, the skipper recalls, the top of the mast is at forty meters. Maximum speeds close to 90 km / h will be reached thanks to the foils, twice as large as on the previous multihull, and to the rudders serving as load-bearing planes. To fly one meter above the waves, Banque Pop XI will only be based on 5 square meters: still a feat for a sixteen-ton carbon assembly.
The Transat Jacques-Vabre, in which he will participate with Kevin Escoffier, will be Armel Le Cléac’h’s first objective in November. A break-in phase necessary before a first challenge, to win in 2022 on the Route du Rhum. The three-time winner of the Solitaire du Figaro would like to put his name on the prize list after many setbacks: 4th in 2006, 2nd in 2010, injured and non-runner in 2014 (replaced by Loïck Peyron who won the race) and shipwrecked in 2018.
Between impatience and apprehension, the Breton will have to find the right balance. “There is a lot of concentration because I don’t want to skip the steps,” he says. With this launch under the sun, the “Jackal” made a success of his first meeting. There is no doubt that the Covilles, Cammas and others will continue to keep a close eye on their neighbor.