Charal ready to take flight
The first IMOCA of the latest, newest generation of monohulls, Jérémie Beyou’s Charal left the CDK yard Tuesday 21st August. At first sight, the boat is something of a beast, tight lines which radically differ from the norms of the IMOCA class, complete with daring branding, a bold new look. And so everyone looks forward to the first sea trials
After having her keel fitted and being launched the shiny new monohull heads from Port La Forêt to Lorient to have her mast rigged. There the stability tests will be performed before the first sea trials start from 29 August. Here is one happy skipper .
Jérémie, it’s an emotional moment to see your boat leave the builders?
" Yes of course. When we stopped working on the boat (although in practice, we never really stop) and the people at Charal discovered the monohull was finally finished, I could see in their eyes what that meant. It is a fabulous bird and I would like this day to be special for those who built it, from the architects to my technical team not to mention the people at CDK. It's a group that worked hard to make it perfect, to deliver on time, while maintaining an exceptional approach. For some like the guys here at CDK the adventure stops here but I do won’t ever forget that this is also their boat. "
The boat is a bit of a contrast to what we have seen until now?
"Yes maybe we see a bit of the influence of Alex Thomson's boat Hugo Boss, especially in the choice of colors. But the hull design is much more extreme as is the size and shape of the foils. We also worked a lot on the deck plan, the deck hardware and the sail plan. There really is a lot of development and only some is visible to the naked eye. I can assure you that we tried to cover every single detail. Now we have a little time to test it all before the Route du Rhum ... "
So, Charal is widely anticipated, all eyes will be on you in the Route du Rhum?
"That’s what we want, we want to give the boat a good, hard test to start with. To be in the Rhum was always a goal. It was our choice to put the boat in the water quickly to be able to sail as soon as possible. To find and use reliable data you have to go out there and get it and to be able, at the outset, to compare your performance to others. Here we are at stage A the goal is to be at Z at the start of the Vendée Globe. "
It is also a deliberate choice to be the first to be able to make development, even if it means showing your colours and losing development time to those after you?
"For me there are no miracles. This way you have time to develop and progress from the reliable data you build and the best way to acquire this data is to have done most by the start of the race. "
Is this boat is the result of some compromises with the architects or did you let them express themselves just as they wanted?
"Overall, I start from the principle of trusting them. After all we discussed we could have been a little more radical on the hull and in the choice of foils, but also we do need to set limits. We will see how it works out in use. I know I wanted a boat that could take off and fly early and fast. But then the next ‘customer’ at VPLP (the boat's architect) is Alex (Thomson). Knowing the man like I do, I do not see him doing anything less extreme than us. But so be it, we are long since committed to our choices, the results will tell the truth.
First planned sails are when?
"If all goes well, August 29. We have some stability tests to do in Lorient, including the 90 ° test. I prefer to have completed the tests before the first sailing "
The last Vendée Globe showed how uncomfortable the foilers were. How did you work on the ergonomics of the boat?
He Laughs "Honestly we would have liked to be able to do more. We had lots of good ideas, good intentions at first, but quickly we are overtaken by structural problems and weight estimates. Comfort? There is no such thing! What we took time on is the ergonomics of the cockpit, that I can be dry outside, I have a good resting position on the ‘standby’ seat. Inside, the only modification is that I brought in a custom shaped bunk: I discovered on the Volvo that you sleeping much better on a bunk than on a pouffé. And so there are things to learn going sailing on other boats.”