From our special correspondent in Lorient (Finistère),
A boat that cuts through the air before being delicately placed in the water of the port of Lorient. This Thursday, Thomas Ruyant launched his new Imoca called For People. “It looks like 3D on computers. It’s a beautiful and a beautiful boat, it’s going fast, ”launches the northern skipper with a smile. The foiler is the result of 50,000 hours of work, fifty people worked on it. In the water but not yet offshore. The sails will only be hoisted “in ten or fifteen days” to carry out numerous checks before that. Then will come the time to welcome Sam Goodchild, an English sailor who is recovering his previous sailboat LinkedOut and which joins its structure TR-Racing with the ambition of lining up the two boats for the Vendée Globe 2024.
Under the Breton sun of mid-March, one eye on his new boat, Thomas Ruyant answered questions from 20 minutes.
Thomas, launching a new boat, is it like getting the keys to a house that you have planned, built and moved into?
It’s a bit like that. It’s kind of my house for part of the year (smile). It’s exciting days like this, it’s the result of many hours, days, months and years of work. The boat joining its liquid element is an important moment.
Can’t wait to take it in hand?
Clearly. I haven’t sailed since the arrival of the Route du Rhum [le 21 novembre]. I was looking forward to this launch. There, we put on halyards, sheets, ropes, switching circuits. I found myself in the cockpit, behind the column turning the winches, lifting the ropes, it makes you want to sail quickly. We still have quite a few tests before that: finish fitting out the boat, installing the sails. But we are not far from a first navigation in ten or fifteen days.
Does a new boat have to be run in like a car?
No, there are a lot of things to test to check that the parts are well built, that there are no bad surprises. These are very powerful boats, the navigation can be quite violent, it’s important to go in stages.
What is the ” For People » kept from your old boat ” LinkedOut » ?
There are a lot of mechanical systems related to foils that we get experience from LinkedOut. There is the cockpit and its organization, life on board, the maneuvering circuits. These are things that worked well on the first boat and that we recovered by improving them at the margin. The set of sails is very close. At hull level [partie de la coque qui est sous l’eau]we are radically different.
What did you seek to have more or less between the two boats?
It’s not over. This boat is not faster than the previous one. We are not looking to be the best in the bay of Lorient, we want a wide boat. The hull is the biggest difference. It will allow us to spend less time in regulation, to increase average speeds, to better pass the sea. We had a Formula 1, there we made a 4×4 to get the Vendée Globe.
Your previous boat passes into the hands of Sam Goodchild. Does it matter to let go of a sailboat that we built, with which we won?
It was weird to leave the boat at the finish of the Route du Rhum because I knew it was the last race with him. Today, I just launched this new boat so I’m very focused on it. On the contrary, I’m delighted that the boat has a good following, that it has picked up a good sailor like Sam. And this is the start of a common story. We will try to collaborate as much as possible to be more efficient than the other sailors.
Your veil changes at the level of the message. You were with LinkedOut which works to reintegrate people away from employment. Today, there is no brand or the name of an association on it, it’s a global message: For People. What’s behind?
With For People, we will continue to support Surroundings which carried the LinkedOut device. Only Entourage is not only reintegration through employment, it is also through sport, culture, neighborhood. It is an association that has grown, grown thanks to us with the help of our spotlight. Now, there will be other initiatives to boost. Offshore racing has this media power to support initiatives with societal impacts.