Following the 2021 Transat Jacques Vabre race, the Arkema trimaran stayed in dry dock for over two months for overhaul and refit. With 100 days at sea and over 17,000 nautical miles on the clock, the boat’s structural elements had to be completely checked over.
“We laid the boat bare,” Quentin Vlamynck explains. “This enabled us to check all its structural components. In particular, we rectified a small weak point at the junction of the link arm. The roof was modified to make the living area better protected from the elements and more comfortable, though comfort remains quite a relative thing! Rather than sleeping on the floor of the deck, we fitted a small slightly raised bunk outside. This will really improve living conditions on board.”
The most visible change on the trimaran concerns its graphic design. In November 2021, the Arkema Group confirmed its positioning as an expert in innovative materials at the service of a sustainable world, with a new visual identity. “The boat looks very smart in its new colors, with warmer tones and a softer feel to it. I look forward to seeing the first visuals of the boat at sea!" Quentin continues.
Welcome to Patrice Guillon, new Team Manager of Ocean Fifty Arkema
In the last few years, Lalou Roucayrol’s Lalou Multi team, based in Verdon-sur-Mer, has seen a major expansion: construction of a shipyard, ramping-up of construction activities, maintenance of racing boats… All this busyness implies new structuring for the firm. Thus, Patrice Guillon was hired as Team Manager of the Lalou Multi competition branch, and in this capacity, he supports the Arkema project.
A newcomer to the world of offshore racing, Patrice Guillon has had a rather atypical career. After spending his youth in Normandy where he discovered the seafaring world between Granville and Chausey, he turned to the army after high school, specifically the active regiments. He joined the 1st Marine Infantry Parachute Regiment in Bayonne in 1989.
“It's not a traditional regiment because it's an elite unit that is part of the special forces. I was on active duty for 25 years, in the Balkans, Afghanistan, Africa and the Middle East. I also spent time in the Indian Ocean where I took part in a fisheries policing mission on the Kerguelen Islands. I then worked as an instructor in several specialty areas, including counter-terrorism and hostage rescue (CTLO) and close protection of high-level officials.”
In 2014, Patrice then decided to leave the armed forces. He has since had plenty of ventures, in both the public and the private sector.
He discovered the world of offshore racing in 2021, with the Solitaire du Figaro. “After a few months in this environment, I met many people and discovered the many professions of the world of offshore racing. It was at the start of the Transat Jacques Vabre race that I felt a desire to be part of this world, whose parallels and values are very close to my past experiences. I approached Lalou Roucayrol at the end of 2021 for this Team Manager position, and took up my new duties on 1st February 2022.” He is in charge of managing and organizing the Ocean Fifty Arkema sports team. “My job is to act as a conductor so that the team works, from a human and technical standpoint, with the sole aim of achieving the agreed objectives. I have always lived in a world of performance, excellence, team spirit, and pushing yourself to the limits. These are values I recognize in sailing and especially in this team! I’m delighted with this new adventure and hope to be able to give Quentin what he needs to achieve his goal.”
A busy and varied program
Back in the water since Tuesday 22 March, the Ocean Fifty Arkema is expected on the 1000 milles des Sables starting line in Sables d’Olonne on 8 April. Open to Class40 and Ocean Fifty boats, and a qualifier for the Route du Rhum, this race will take the skippers past the coast of Cape Finisterre (Spain), then the Fastnet in Ireland before heading back to Sables d’Olonne.
“This is going to be my very first Ocean Fifty solo race,” explains Quentin. “I’m eager and apprehensive all at the same time as I won’t have had much solo training before the start of the race. It’s very important for me to take part as it’s clearly part of my strategy for preparing for solo racing. We’ll then sail as a crew in the Pro Sailing Tour event, and I’ll also take part in the Drheam Cup solo race. All these races are important to best prepare for the Route du Rhum in November!”
2022 season program:
8 April: 1000 Milles des Sables (solo)
May-June-July: Pro Sailing Tour
17 July: DRHEAM Cup (solo)
6 November: Route du Rhum – Destination Guadeloupe