Throughout the crossing, the only place where Fabien will be able to set foot is on the raft made for the Ocean heart’s project. Measuring 6.2ft high, 14ft long and 8.2ft wide, this trimaran is made of marine plywood assembled with epoxy resin, allowing a total waterproofing of the wood. At the end of the construction, the whole boat is covered on the outside with a layer of fiberglass/epoxy which serves as an armor against shocks and ensures all the solidity and safety essential for this adventure.
The raft being deprived of sail or engine, it will be simply pushed by the trade wings which blow permanently between the islands of Cape Verde and the Antilles. Four centerboards are located under the boat and the two at the back are connected to the autopilots, allowing to keep the direction throughout the journey. These centerboards are used to guide the boat, but they can also be used as an anti-current device in crosswind conditions, or even to brake the boat if necessary, for example in strong winds and swells. Each centerboard is independent, so the adjustment possibilities are infinite and can be adapted to all situations. The “saffron drums” allow to raise them or to take them out of the water for exemple to remove the sargassum (seaweed) which has been present for years and which can stop the boat completely if it accumulate in the centerboards. On the roof, solar panels will supply the raft with electricity constantly during the 50 days of the trip. Everything has been thought to guarantee an infallible safety, like the shape of the roof allowing the boat to turn over in the right direction if ever it is rolled by a breaker.
The raft being his only home for the whole adventure, Fabien must take with him on board everything he will need. This includes electronic and safety equipment, swimming equipment, clothes and everything else that makes up life aboard such a boat: food, seawater desalinator, travel log, entertainment, communication and scientific surveys… Our swimmer will have a GPS, a satellite phone, a radio, a barometer, a laptop, a camera… All this will guarantee his safety, being totally alone from the beginning to the end of the trip, and it will also help our athlete to communicate with the team and the public daily.
Plans: François Lucas
The raft’s plans were made by François Lucas, naval architect from Nantes. From Ocean cruising to offshore racing, including service boats or motor boats, François has a large experience in designing… everything that sails. He sails regularly in races and cruises and has several transatlantic races to his credit. Passionate about Ocean racing, he has raced the Mini Transat 650 solo in 2001, the Transquadra double-handed in 2012, the Fastnet Race crewed on Class 40 in 2015, each time on boats of his own design.
He works as well for series constructions at the request of shipyards or for unit constructions. In particular, he designed boats for Emmanuel Coindre, French record holder of all the Oceans (8 solo and unassisted Ocean crossings).
His plans are always designed to simplify the building process. Many amateur builders around the world have already used his designs, from 14 ft for the smallest to 52 ft for the bigger. With powerful, fast, stable and balanced boats, François Lucas is known for being at the forefront of innovation.
The architect has been working for years with At.fa.co, a renowned fabrication workshop in charge of building our beautiful raft.
At.fa.co company is specialized in the manufacturing of composite material parts and operates in the nautical sector. This shipbuilding workshop is located in Bouaye, in the suburbs of Nantes. We are proud to entrust the construction of our boat to Laurent Sourdille, the founder, who has been practicing his skills in the industry for over 20 years. The workshop builds all type of boats: sail, motor, and other floating devices. It is not only about racing boats, but also about robust utility boats, for fishing for example. Each construction project is unique, so the pieces are produced individually and everything is made to order. At.fa.co works on a complete composite base, made of fiberglass, carbon and epoxy resin. The workshop develops a new generation of professional boats, based on safety, maneuverability and energy saving. It is a “high-tech tailor-made” workshop. The shipyard has worked closely with Emmanuel Coindre since 2005. French sailor, leader in solo Ocean rowing with 8 crossings, multiple world record holder in the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian and the 24 hours. His second boat was refitted by At.fa.co as part of Emmanuel’s support of the famous French YouTubers McFly and Carlito, for their crossing of the Mediterranean Sea by rowing. The company built boats for major nautical races, such as the “Vendée Globe” and the “Route du Rhum”.