Construction of the Safran new-generation IMOCA monohull boat
The creation of the Safran 60-foot monohull was an architectural and technological challenge for the Group and its employees, the naval architects and the Safran Sailing Team. Working closely together and sharing knowledge were vital factors in the success of this major project.
For 10 years now, Safran has been totally committed to its ocean racing sponsorship project. Nearly 200 employees have contributed to the construction of the two Safran monohulls. Working closely with the Team, their expertise helped ensure that the new boat offers the highest performance and reliability of its generation.
Most Group companies were involved in this project, contributing their expertise in materials and structural analysis, electrical systems, autopilots, batteries, wiring and much more.
We've had a great working relationship for the last ten years, and have once again taken advantage of this incredible range of skills.
Sponsors join forces
One of the unique features of this project, with a design by naval architects Guillaume Verdier and Vincent Lauriot-Prévost, from the firm VPLP, is that it was conducted jointly by Safran and Banque Populaire. The two sponsors joined forces to build their new IMOCA class boats for the 2016–17 Vendée Globe, ensuring they continue to be a driving force in the launch of the new generation of monohulls in this class.
This cooperation allowed them to pool their efforts and resources as well as share the results of advanced hydrology studies, while working separately on their foils, sails, cockpit and onboard systems.
Contributors to the construction of the Safran monohull:
● CDK Technologies (Lorient): prime contractor – manufacture of the hull, bulkheads and deck structures, plus assembly of the hull, deck and appendages
● Marsaudon (Lorient): construction of the hull mold
● Chantier Naval Couach (Gujan-Mestras): manufacture of the deck
Construction of the Safran monohull
The hull mold was built by Marsaudon Composites in Lorient. The mold determines the final shape of the boat's hull.
The design of the deck was the focus of much reflection between architect Guillaume Verdier, Morgan Lagravière (the new skipper of Safran) and Marc Guillemot. To verify all the parameters of the deck and optimize its design, a full-scale model was built that could heel over to 25 degrees. "This model enabled Morgan to check the location of winches, the ease of maneuvers, accessibility and movement on board," explains Pascal Chadail, project manager at Safran. "On Marc's advice, Morgan provided extensive input at this point, because he's the one who'll be sailing the boat, so he must be comfortable with it."
Construction of the deck was handled by the Couach shipyard in Gujan-Mestras, with the participation of Thierry Eluère, who built the first Safran. CDK Technologies manufactured the bulkheads, five of which are watertight in line with IMOCA class rules, as well as the longitudinal stiffeners, which add rigidity to the hull. Final assembly of the boat (hull, deck, bulkheads) as well as integration of the electrical and hydraulic systems and installation of the hardware and all the rigging (sheets, halyards, runners, etc.) was also carried out by CDK Technologies.
The appendages — keel with fin imposed by IMOCA class rules, two daggerboards and two rudders — were the subject of extensive study, particularly to optimize their shape, weight and efficiency. A rotating wing mast was chosen. The development work for the sails was carried out jointly by the architects, the skipper and the sailmaker.