The return from the final race of 2015 saw the immediate launch of the winter refits to reinforce and optimise the foilers, Banque Populaire VIII (Armel Le Cléac’h) and Safran 2 (Morgan Lagravière) being completed just a few weeks ago at CDK (respectively 15 and 30 March).
The objective of these 2 refits: to implement the recommended reinforcements drawn up by the naval architects following feedback from the Transat Jacques Vabre. Indeed, this race proved to be a great medium for observing the amazing speed potential of the foilers on certain tacks, which put considerable stresses on certain elements of the structure. The teams have also been working on the operation of the foils and optimisations have been applied to both these 2 boats in this regard. Armel Le Cléac’h has been racking up the miles since the relaunch of his boat. It’s worth noting that his was the only foiler to have completed the Transat Jacques Vabre and as such he has amassed precious information about how it sails in race configuration. Armel will be participating in The Transat (start on 2 May).
Meantime, Morgan Lagravière, now being coached by Roland Jourdain, has also been completing a series of sea trials since late March in a bid to amass some useful experience for the upcoming races. Together, they’ll deliver the boat across the Atlantic with a view to competing in the New-York-Vendée.
For Maitre Coq (Jérémie Beyou) and PRB (Vincent Riou), 2 of the most high performance boats from the non-foiling generation manufactured by CDK, the choices have been rather different.
Jérémie Beyou has taken a radical option by deciding to install foils on his older generation boat. These modifications have given rise to a sizeable overhaul at CDK, focusing on the structure and installation of the foil casing. Maitre Coq returned to the water on 7 April in Port-La-Forêt, north-west France. We’ll only get a chance to see the new appendages once the latter have been delivered, in a few days’ time. Jérémie will be at the start of the Transat New York-Vendée.
Meanwhile, PRB has chosen the optimisation route; the most visible element being the innovative design of the leading edges on her rudders. This 10-week refit was performed by the boat team itself. It will not have gone unnoticed that Vincent Riou has already made the most of the Easter storms to trial his choices in breezy conditions, resulting in some fantastic images of sailing in rough weather. Vincent Riou is currently putting in a lot of training in a bid to take the start of The Transat (start on 2 May). He’ll be one of the firm favourites.
With regards to the other IMOCAs that have had time in CDK’s workshops, Paul Meilhat’s refit has been rather special. Indeed, his boat, SMA, was manhandled in the Atlantic as it was left to drift after the injured Paul was airlifted from her by helicopter during the Transat B to B race. Since then, CDK has been assisting the Mer Agitée racing stable, in charge of the refit, by manufacturing various parts, most notable of which are a pair of outriggers.
In terms of K-Line Initiatives Cœur (Tanguy Delamotte), she’s out sailing again after a team-led winter refit with a view to her participation in the next New York-Vendée.
Finally, No Way Back (Pieter Heerema), optimised and reinforced at CDK over the past winter, is in training in the Canaries with a view to the first Calero Solo Transat, which will set sail on 9 April bound for Newport (USA). He also intends to participate in the New York-Vendée.