From the Lalou Multi Composite shipyard to the salt water of the Gironde estuary is just a few steps. The crane did not have to extend its boom very far this morning to lower Arkema 4 into the water. Risen from the ground just a year ago for the construction of the new Multi50, the Lalou Multi Composite shipyard literally lies at the water’s edge, and only had to open its doors wide for the public to finally catch a glimpse of this new machine. Arkema 4 unveiled its stylish look and contemporary design, before being lifted to don its deep central rudder.
This and the mast-stepping maneuver required plenty of concentration, to cap in optimum conditions a year of relentless effort by the construction team, some fifteen operators who worked hard on the three hulls assembled in the summer.
For the past month or so, the installation of the fittings and systems, of the netting and aero tarps, of the deckhouse, ... has meant intense but enjoyable and motivating fitting-out and finishing work. In the end, everything took shape quickly. Today is a big day, a new beginning with Arkema following a peculiar year when we have had to find roundabout ways and adapt without ever slackening our efforts. Today is the day the sailors are taking over!
An innovative, versatile and sharp-looking Multi50
Although the construction of Arkema 4 began a year ago, the thinking behind its architecture goes much further back. Drawing on the experience of Arkema 1, naval architect Romaric Neyhousser has designed a more versatile Multi50, capable of course of excelling in solo offshore events but also racing between the buoys at Grands Prix, a major part of a Multi50 season.
Looking down from the quayside, the care taken to limit the aerodynamic drag (integration of fittings, fairings and aero tarps) is obvious, but the most innovative part is to be found in the large cockpit. It is made of composite material that includes recycled Elium® resin, an Arkema innovation, and was assembled with Bostik acrylic glues, compatible with recycling. Flanked behind the X-shaped outriggers, it allows the crew to maneuver while protected, and helps lower the center of gravity.
The deckhouse, which can be removed for Grand Prix, offers outstanding protection in solo racing. With their scratchproof and water-repellent coating, the cockpit’s many glazing panes are made of PMMA or “acrylic glass” - also recyclable -, which is ultralight and particularly impact-resistant; the brand new ShieldUp® Flex flexible sheeting used for this glazing does away with the need for the thermoforming processing stage.
Plenty of other specialty materials from the Group play a role in the performance of the trimaran. For example, Bostik's structural adhesives with which the structure was assembled, or the latest generation lithium batteries incorporating the Kynar® technology for optimized and sustainable management of energy consumption during transatlantic races.
"Seeing these multihulls on paper is always an abstract concept. Perspective tends to flatten the overall look, especially since we opted for a wide deck for the aerodynamic effect it produces near the sails. Well, today I find Arkema 4 to be slender and elegant. It's quite wonderful!” declared a proud and emotional Lalou Roucayrol.
The skipper will be present for the next few seasons alongside Quentin in this role of “transmission” that has been close to his heart since they met in 2010. The two men, accompanied by Raphaël Lutard - boat captain - and Keni Piperol - crewman - will ferry the boat as fast as possible to the Mediterranean. On the agenda, records at the invitation launched by Kito de Pavant departing from Port Camargue, then the Middle Sea Race, a kind of Mediterranean Fastnet departing from Malta for a 600 mile intense regatta. An opportunity to face down the competition since Arkema 4 will be rubbing shoulders with at least another four Multi50s. The crew will then sail past Gibraltar heading for the Canary Islands to extend the season in optimum conditions, around an archipelago that is familiar to Quentin and Lalou since they broke the Gran Canaria race record last year.