"It's an alliance which has evolved gradually. Initially the idea was to work with Black Pepper ® on updating an older generation boat. But then after encountering Sam Manuard that
rather moved our plans on.” Explains Tripon. It was while looking at the Multi50 Actual that he got talking to Manuard who had sailed the boat in the Transat Jacques Vabre with Yves Le Blevec. He spoke seriously with Manuard and the seeds of an idea were sown.
"Over the course of the discussion, I told Sam that I had Vendée Globe plans and that with Black Pepper ® we were considering working on upgrading an existing boat. So Sam told me he would be interested in working on a new boat and could get on to it very quickly.”
Manuard had just set up the a design team for a 100-foot monohull which was to be equipped with foils. Sadly, for financial reasons, the project did not progress.
"So, I had the whole infrastructure in place to get on with an IMOCA project immediately," explains Sam Manuard.
The relationship between Tripon and Michel de Lassus, the boss of Black Pepper ® already goes back several years. The meeting with Manuard lit the blue touch paper.
"It's one thing to get involved in the Vendée Globe," says de Franssu, “It is an entirely different proposition to decide to build a new boat. I admit that I was excited about Manuard's approach. He is a very smart guy, with a host of different ideas.
"Now we know that an IMOCA can go around the world with foils the situation has changed. And here we are now with designers who have very a specific approach and ideas. I'm not sure that Juan K (architect of Sébastien Simon's boat) has the same ideas as Guillaume Verdier or VPLP. It is very exciting to embark on this adventure. Moreover with Armel and Michel we all start from a blank sheet and that allows us to be quite ambitious.”
The team has been working on the project since the beginning of 2018 and the build of the mould is expected to begin shortly. They believe their timing to be close to the ideal. And the relationship between the skipper, the builders and the designers is positively sparking. They have everything to prove. The cynics might point to a relationship of three first timers, but Tripon responds. “Don’t they say fortune favours the brave.”