Thursday, 18 June 2009

Maxi Trimaran Banque Populaire V on a conquest of the oceans : The North Atlantic crossing Record

Banque Populaire V. Supplied image.

Banque Populaire V, the largest ocean racing trimaran in the world, was launched in August 2008 in Lorient (Brittany – France). Built at sites in Cherbourg, La Rochelle and Lorient, the construction of the maxi trimaran took 250 000 man hours of work, utilsiing a total workforce of some 170 people.

Under the leadership Pascal Bidégorry, skipper of the Banque Populaire trimarans since 2004, the crew of the Maxi Banque Populaire V embarks on an ocean records campaign ready to challenge the oceans. In 2009, with a crew of 13, it will attempt to beat the established records on the North Atlantic crossing (New York to the Lizard, England) and the Jules Verne Trophy (Ushant – Ushant via the three great capes).

by Virginie Bouchet

Having won the Transat Jacques Vabre, been multihull world Champion in 2005 and given everything to the Route du Rhum in 2006, Pascal Bidégorry and Groupe Banque Populaire worked together to plan a future project in line with the Group's passions and ambitions: it would have to be a maxi multihull with the potential to wash away all the current records.

Trimaran owners since 1989 Groupe Banque Populaire listens to and is in tune with their skipper's views as they continue their investment in the challenging world of ocean racing, seeking to share their combined love of the sea and sailing adventures with the widest possible audience, reflecting their a spirit of adventure, team work and bravery.

The Groupe Banque Populaire gave the green light in April 2006.
Since then the skipper has scarcely had a moments respite. He has surrounded himself with leading experts and built a strong team of twenty-one professionals, all specialists in their respective fields.

With the express agreement and involvement of Banque Populaire, the team elect to work with the renowned designers Van Peteghem – Lauriot Prévost (VPLP).

For VPLP, the challenge consisted of designing a fully crewed, no compromise multihull, which is totally versatile but very high-performing, suitable for a mixed programme, which is always seaworthy but cutting edge and progressive, but which always preserves the safety of the crew on board.

The Maxi Banque Populaire V is conceived - to date, it is the biggest ocean racing trimaran, sailed by a highly experienced team, skippered by Pascal Bidégorry, ready to let rip on the seven oceans and challenged by the most prestigious seafaring sailing programme.

Pascal Bidégorry and his associate Ronan Lucas, the Director of the Team Banque Populaire, sought a design centred around a very specific idea:

"We wanted a big boat which would be able to sail fast safely but with a range of speeds, all that we knew we could master from a technological point of view".

Four months of research jointly carried out by the Team's Design Office, the designers, the build teams and the Groupe Banque Populaire and skipper Pascal Bidégorry settle on building on a 40-metre (131 feet) trimaran.

At the same time the designers in charge of the construction of the beams and the final assembly is entrusted to the boatyard CDK Technologies, in itself requiring a warehouse big enough to accommodate the giant of the seas, Keroman Technologies in Lorient.

Banque Populaire V. Image copyright Benoit Stichelbaut/BFBP.

In January 2007, the Cherbourg shipyard JMV Industries starts on the construction of the central hull and particularly the mould, which is completed in May. At the beginning of September, the two half shells of the main element of this superb machine are assembled, finally revealing the futuristic lines of the Maxi Trimaran Banque Populaire V.

On October 1st 2007, departing from Cherbourg-Octeville, a trailer almost 50 metres in length takes to the road to bring the central hull to Lorient. The delivery alone takes 24 hours. But, a year after the official presentation of the project and following nine months of research, the main part of Banque Populaire V arrives at Keroman Technologies at JMV Industries. Between the assembly of the aft cross beam built at CDK Technologies in Port-La-Fôret, and the arrival of the outer hulls, the team will have to wait until the beginning of 2008 to see all the pieces of the puzzle assembled in Lorient.

On August 26th 2008, at the end of a delicate operation expertly led by the whole Banque Populaire Team and the Keroman Technologies Boatyard, the Maxi Banque Populaire V meets water for the first time. The launch, carried out without a hitch, is immediately followed by the placing of the mast and by the delivery under engine of the newborn towards its receiving pontoon in Lorient harbour. A series of resistance tests follow over the next two weeks in order to get a feel of the machine's structure and tolerance of the forces to be encountered at sea.

On September 9th 2008, exactly two weeks after its launch, the Maxi Banque Populaire V takes to the open sea on the first of a long and successful series of navigations. Sea trial after sea trial the ocean-going maxi trimaran improves, and the team completes and puts the finishing touches to the boat's adjustments, each and every one of these sea trials proved as productive as exciting. In the course of these experiences, the Dream Team put together for the records by Pascal Bidégorry also takes the shape of a fine talented crew composed of twelve men behind a happy skipper. The men on board the latest of the Giants class, Ronan Lucas, Marcel Van Triest, Yvan Ravussin, Kévin Escoffier, Ewen Le Clech, Sébastien Audigane, Yann Eliès, Florent Chastel, Emmanuel Le Borgne, Jean-Baptiste Le Vaillant and Pierre Yves Moreau form the ideal team to tackle the race against time.

On September 14th 2009 the Maxi Banque Populaire V men leave their Brittany base for the first time on a long offshore sea trial aimed not only at deepening their knowledge of the boat but also at rallying to Cadiz-Puerto Sherry, stand-by port of the Discovery Route, first of the record attempts on the Team's programme. In spite of two months of waiting, no weather window deigns to open for the sailors, who patiently await better conditions and make the most of each and every moment to further discover the maxi trimaran and to gain time for their preparation in view of the main event on the 2009-2010 calendar: the Jules Verne Trophy.

Today, a new chapter begins in the Maxi Banque Populaire V's book of records. In a few days, Pascal Bidégorry and his twelve crewmen will set sail for the United States, their sights set on achieving a new reference time for the North Atlantic crossing. As from June 18th and as soon as the weather permits, the Team Banque Populaire will set sail towards New York on an attempt to reduce the 4 days 3 hours 57 minutes and 53 seconds of the record. The stopwatch will go off on the finish line set between Ushant and Cape Lizard, revealing whether the maxi trimaran built by the Sailing Bank is to write a first line in its race against time, the beginning of a story that will reach the main plot with the Jules Verne Trophy starting next winter...

Maxi Trimaran Banque Populaire V

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