Michel Ollivier, Director of the project and Tanguy Redon, an engineer at the CDK Technologies design office in charge of the 11th Hour project, give us the low-down on the various stages that make up the construction of the 60-foot monohull of 11th Hour Racing Team.
Throughout the build and in collaboration with Damian Foxall’s team, which is in charge of assessing the environmental footprint of the project within the 11th HOUR RACING Team, CDK Technologies provided the manufacturing data whilst suggesting way to improve or reduce the impact of such a construction. This work supported the development of the environmental chapter within the IMOCA Class Rules for future builds.
Review of the build schedule for such a project
Winter 2019 - Launch of the manufacture of the hull and deck moulds
Michel Ollivier: « This phase follows directly on from the design phase for the boat’s 3D forms. We explore the architectural options. It’s the start of a lengthy period of painstaking work. At the same time, we reserve the raw material from our suppliers. For us it’s a symbolic moment as it’s the project launch, even though nothing’s set in stone in our enclosure as yet. »
Spring 2020 - Receipt of the hull and deck moulds at CDK Technologies, the build is about to commence for real
Michel Ollivier: « Upon receipt of the moulds from our subcontractors, the hitherto virtual form takes physical shape. From this point, the lay-up of the hull begins. Involving different stages, the sheet material is laid up according to the architect’s plans and then cooked. The large number of big ovens at CDK made it possible to launch the construction of the hull and deck at the same time at the 2 CDK sites (Port-La-Forêt and Lorient).
In conjunction with the manufacture of the hull and deck, the overall structure is also defined. There is a process of constant optimisation between the yard and the architects, one detail after another, until the point where the parts are locked in. Together, we search for the best possible solution and we’re constantly optimising. It’s also at this time that our expertise in composite construction comes into play. It’s the DNA of our sector: adaptability at the service of maximum performance. »
Late 2020 - The hull’s release from the mould is an important moment that shines a spotlight on the quality of the ‘Made in CDK’ construction and cooking
Michel Ollivier: « It’s the big reveal. We discover the exterior of 11th Hour Racing Team hull. It’s a very important stage for the entire CDK team as it is an affirmation of several months’ work. The flawless condition of the hull when released from the mould is the result of CDK Technologies’ fine-tuning of its construction and cooking techniques. In addition to being a source of general satisfaction amongst the CDK teams, this equates to just a small amount of finishing work and hence less weight. This pivotal moment proved to be a real boost for a team that is already deeply involved in the project. »
With the hull and deck in the same place, the team is fleshed out prior to the bonding of the deck
Michel Ollivier: « All the elements are brought together in an assembly room entirely dedicated to 11th HOUR, whose access is strictly controlled to preserve the confidentiality of the project. It’s also the moment where 11th HOUR RACING’s team of technicians appropriate the walls of CDK Technologies. An absolute hive of activity by now, between 20 and 25 people are working on the boat at all times. Everyone is preparing and adjusting the different parts. A very precise organisation needs to be put in place with a joint schedule shared by the 11th HOUR RACING and CDK teams.
Armed with our past experience as the reference builder for the majority of the latest generation IMOCAs, we made every effort to bond the deck to the hull as late as possible, so as to leave the teams time to work in the ‘open air’, namely with the hull open and the deck not bonded. This enables considerable time-saving in what is an intense phase of activity. »
June 2021 - The assembled hull and deck of the 11th Hour Racing Team IMOCA 60 now joined together as one!
Tanguy Redon, engineer for CDK Technologies design office in charge of the 11th Hour project: « Bonding the deck is a key stage. All the different stages of the build process are equally important, however visually the bonding of the deck enables us to see the boat as a whole. »
The finishing details and painting
Michel Ollivier: « The last six weeks of work have been fairly restrictive since the boat was bonded together. The teams have been working in very close quarters, ensuring they’re in sync with the finishing phases (lamination, etc.), which create dust and the sensitive painting stage. The human mechanics have had to be as well-oiled as the composite mechanics! It all runs like clockwork. It’s also a key phase through until the launch. Everything is carefully timed. We wonder whether we’re going to pull it off, then little by little, the date is set… »
Foils: CDK’s expertise
In conjunction with the construction of the IMOCA of 11th HOUR RACING TEAM, CDK began building a pair of foils specifically for the boat’s programme. The serious investment made by CDK in 2020 on its Lorient site enabled it to rise to the challenge: numerical simulation, a machine for cutting out carbon materials and, above all, in an industry-first, an autoclave measuring 4 metres in diameter, making it possible for CDK to come up with innovative solutions for manufacturing the parts designed by Guillaume Verdier’s team.
Epilogue: Exit from the yard and launch
Yann Dollo, Deputy General Manager of CDK Technologies: « Every construction is a genuine business plan, which combines all the different skill sets at CDK Technologies. For 11th HOUR RACING TEAM, Michel OLLIVIER, director of the project, has put together a team par excellence to support Tanguy Redon (Design Office), Alain Guidon (Team Manager) and operators dedicated to the construction of the 11th Hour Racing Team IMOCA 60. This team has been assisted at every key moment of the project by the Director of Manufacturing Stéphane Digard and Romain Cachia, Head of the Design Office.
This wealth of experience extends to several IMOCA builds within CDK and it has been one of the keys to the success of this project.
We would like to underline this fact and thank all our teams for their efforts. The fragmented schedule as a result of the health guidelines was not easy to deal with when deadlines have to be adhered to. However, CDK’s employees naturally rose to the challenge as they do with every build. This team is both united and driven. Skipper Charlie Enright made regular visits to the yard to congratulate, encourage and acknowledge a job well done and this recognition on the part of the partner and the skipper is the best possible reward.
CDK is proud to launch its 12th IMOCA and wishes 11th HOUR and all its team fair winds, as well as a series of fine victories of course! »
Charlie Enright admits: « It's been a huge collaborative effort to get to this point and I'd like to especially thank the boat builders themselves who have put in a tremendous amount of hard work, the culmination of which can be seen today. CDK implemented sustainable processes throughout their supply chain during this build and embraced the implementation of the Life Cycle Assessment tool which will support the impact measurement of future IMOCA boat builds. No boat building outfit has won more Vendée Globes and we look to add to that pedigree with our racing program going forward. »