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Guy Saillard
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Portrait of Guy Saillard

Naval architect and maritime expert Guy SAILLARD is the man of all seafaring challenges, capable of designing and producing all sorts of embarkations.

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To contact GUY SAILLARDá:
Mobile phone : 06 15 92 82 19 - Tel/Fax : 02 97 30 08 61
E-mail : saillard.guy@wanadoo.fr - Web : www.saillard-guy.com_an.php

 

 

Interview

What are the main imperatives set out in designing a sailboard for the ‘high seas’?

The main imperative is to be autonomous, that is, to be able to live on the sailboard independently, not to require the presence or the random accompaniment of another vessel, which gives a false sense of security. Raphaëla’s sailboard is a cork, intended to float in all circumstances even if it were damaged (despite being made of carbon/Kevlar/epoxy). It is clear that the sailboard must also be very resistant and as light as possible.

The end result is this new sailboard, which is 7.8m long?

Yes. The board should not be too small (otherwise, not fast enough) nor too big (otherwise, not manageable) and should go at an acceptable speed in relation to a low sail area (7.4m2 maximum). So it should have a low wetted surface area and a high flotation line. The problem is to have enough upright stability despite its roundness, but little stability upside down, to prevent the board from remaining overturned; it must be able to pass through waves despite its low weight and go fast with the wind despite everything. And of course you have to be able to live on board, to sleep, to eat, to rest out of the elements (in a restricted volume of 2.45m x 0.52m x 0.80, hardly more than 1 cubic meter), but also have room for wet outfits, housing for a pivoting centerboard, separate watertight lockers, twin watertight battery blocks and all the on-board provisions for an ocean voyage, not to mention a watermarker, a toolbox, a gas stove, etc. Now that we have all that, I don’t think it is too big!

How long did it take to build?

Construction of the board itself began in July 2001 and finished in September 2001. Equipment was installed between October 2001 and the end of May 2002. Almost a whole year was needed to finalize the installation. All work carried out on the interior of the sailboard is painstaking and difficult because it is so small and work is not easy in such a confined space. More work was carried out in 2003, notably the installation of an air-bag system and in 2005 for paintwork and electrical and electronic installations.

You designed and built the sailboard S Peyron used to cross the Atlantic in 1987, the same sailboard used by Raphaëla for her Atlantic challenge 13 years later. What are the main evolutions brought to this new sailboard?

The main evolution is even greater research into lightness with the use of honeycombed partitions. The board has a finer prow in order to pass through waves better and a flatter stern in order to surf better. The command center for the rudder is much more sophisticated due to manufacture and production of sections of the tiller weighing only 350 grams and allowing Kevlar tiller ropes to be used. All this to avoid the minor problems Raphaëla had with the old material of the previous crossing.
And I would add that the airbag system developed together with the ESA is a truly innovative technology.

Can you tell us more about this airbag system?

Airbag

After Raphaëla’s first attempt in the Mediterranean during which she capsized and had difficulty uprighting and the subsequent successful crossing from Marseille to Tunis, we decided to double up all the safety procedures. Raphaëla is capable of righting the vessel alone if it capsizes but it is better to prepare for the worst. So in 2003, together with ESA, we developed an airbag system in case of capsizing and difficulty re-righting. This emergency system can be set off inside or outside the cabin. The airbag situated at the stern of the sailboard is activated by an electric inflator and destabilizes the upturned board. Righting is spontaneous. Raphaëla can then deflate bag and prime the system for later use.

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