Newsletter 2021-12




Paprec Arkéa, a third new generation Imoca for Multiplast


After Boris Herrmann and Maxime Sorel (with MerConcept), a third Imoca class skipper has awarded Multiplast the contract to build his boat. We are talking about Yoann Richomme whose next Paprec Arkéa, designed by a team of architects including Antoine Koch and the Finot-Conq designers, will be launched in early 2023.



After Boris Herrmann and Maxime Sorel (with MerConcept), a third Imoca class skipper has awarded Multiplast the contract to build his boat. We are talking about Yoann Richomme whose next Paprec Arkéa, designed by a team of architects including Antoine Koch and the Finot-Conq designers, will be launched in early 2023.

Yoann Richomme is looking forward to his first Vendée Globe. Twice winner of the Solitaire du Figaro, he has been chosen by Paprec and Arkéa to sail in their colours in the 2024 non-stop solo round the world race. This will be the second campaign in a row for the two partners, who will be handing him the helm of the new Imoca, designed by Antoine Koch, in collaboration with the Finot-Conq team.

“We’re basing our ideas on a project that is currently being developed for Thomas Ruyant, so we don’t have to start from scratch,” explained the skipper. “Bringing together these designers means we can make use of their individual skills, with each one offering a key part of the design work. A lot has gone into the research work with tools to calculate how the boat behaves in the waves, and an exceptional sailing simulator.

These tools have been judged to be very important by Romain Ménard, managing director of Team Spirit Racing, the new ocean racing team launched for this purpose by Paprec and Arkéa: “We understood in the last Vendée Globe that the boats weren’t giving 100% of their potential. The Imocas have to once again become capable of being handled by solo skippers.

"Yoann is a skipper on his way up"

For the construction work, Team Spirit Racing has chosen the Multiplast yard, for whom this will be the third new generation Imoca after the work being done for Boris Herrmann (currently being built) and for Maxime Sorel, whose hull and deck were recently delivered to Mer Concept. “Multiplast has an excellent reputation in ocean racing,” commented Yoann Richomme. “I have always been impressed by the quality of the boats that come out of their yard. Building a boat at Multiplast is one of my dreams, so I’m pleased to see the project getting underway.”"


This pleasure is shared by Yann Penfornis, managing director of Multiplast, who is not going into the unknown with this project: “We have already worked with Romain Ménard on the construction of the Jean-Pierre Dick’s Saint Michel - Virbac Imoca and we have a lot of respect for each other. Romain has set up a great team around Yoann, who is a skipper on his way up. They have some ambitious design choices and are looking at new ideas.


As for the timing, the mould for the hull is arriving at the yard just before Christmas with work really beginning on her in January 2022 and set to last a year. Romain Ménard is pleased to be able to start work fairly early so that he “won’t have any regrets at the start of the Vendée Globe,” while Yann Penfornis added: “Fifteen months between the design of the shape and the launch of the boat is perfect.


The Paprec Arkea team has already grown with the arrival of two experienced engineers: Gautier Levisse, in charge of the design team (who has come from Team Banque Populaire), and Simon Troël, the technical director. “Other people will be joining us over time before the launch date. A lot is going on in the ocean racing sector and its’ not easy to get the best people,” noted Yoann Richomme. “Within the next month, we’ll have four full-time members for the design and construction management. In all, looking at every area, there will be about fifteen people in the team,” explained Romain Ménard. As for Multiplast, Corentin Lognoné will be in charge of the project in the design studio, with Jean-Jacques Porrot alongside him, while Pierre-Yves Bourdais will head up the construction team.


solid sail chanter de l atlantique

© B. Biger / Chantiers de l’Atlantique


Nicolas Abiven : "We hope to see the first sailing ships sailing in 2025"

This Autumn of 2021 the Aeoldrive / SolidSail project reached a new milestone with the start of building of the second part of the balestron rig (Aeoldrive) and the sails which are composite panels (SolidSail) of the demonstrator model which is in Saint-Nazaire. Multiplast is effectively doubly involved as they are manufacturing the sails as well as part of the mast tube. He is a an update with Nicolas Abiven who is the engineer in charge of the project for Chantiers de l'Atlantique.

Can you remind us just how this Aeoldrive / SolidSail project started out?

The desire of Chantiers de l'Atlantique to build ships that use wind for propulsion to reduce diesel consumption dates back a little over ten years. At first there was a considerable period of research and development and studies quickly showed that traditional flexible sails were not suitable for big surface areas both actually operating them and in terms of durability. The engineers then considered sails made of panels which were independent of each other, connected by hinges. This principle was validated in the summer of 2016, Chantiers then called me to take care of the actual implementation of the idea. We started in September of that year with a very small sail on a J/80, then the following year on a 130 m2 sail aboard Jean Le Cam's Imoca. These tests were conclusive, so that we mounted it on the Le Ponant cruise ship for a whole season, until October 2019. At the same time, we manufactured a prototype SolidSail of 50 m2 with a balestron rig which was installed in the port of Pornichet. We have been testing it for two years and we are very happy with it.


Where did the decision to go up to full scale come from?

At the end of 2019, we launched the construction of the first part of the balestron rigging and sails intended for use on the first cruise ships. These were all installed last summer on the Chantiers de l'Atlantique site, in Saint Nazaire. Now we are in the process of manufacturing the additional mast and sails: 1,500 m2 in all, 1,100 for the mainsail, 400 for the jib. So that we will have the first complete 70m high rig erected on the port of Saint-Nazaire in September 2022. At the same time, we are discussing the marketing sailing ships (called Silenseas) with owners. We hope that the first orders will be signed in the first quarter of 2022 and that they will be sailing from the summer of 2025.


"We were keen that this new market

could be serviced by our local manufacturers"

To manufacture the mast several companies from the world of offshore racing were called on (Multiplast, CDK Technologies, Lorima, Avel Robotics, SMM). Were Multiplast chosen to build the sails in part because of your experience as an ocean racer (*)?

We said to ourselves that the know-how came from companies that have experience in boats and racing. Such companies also have the advantage of knowing how to carefully measure and manage the technological risk during development. We also wanted partners who were close to us, geographically. And also there is a ‘can do’ proactive approach. We were keen that this new market could be serviced by our local manufacturers and for it all not to just default to the usual, easy solution, going to countries with lower costs. So we chose Multiplast for the sail. For the mast, given the scale of the project, we asked several companies to join forces technologically. We've been working with this consortium for two years. It has been going extremely well. We are very happy to have managed to bring industrial partners from southern Brittany in to a heavy industry project that they would not necessarily have been able to get involved with.


Is this a very large potential market?


With the yards, we are very cautious people: in our own market which is to sell ocean liners (75% of our turnover), we estimate that we can sell between 0.5 and 1 liner per year on average in the years to come. Which would make two to three masts per year, or between 50 and 60 tonnes of carbon to be transformed per year. That alone is already monstrous [the equivalent of the quantity used to build 8 Imoca, according to Yann Penfornis, general manager of Multiplast, Editor's note]! And if the market really bulks as we hope, with sail cargo ship builders and super yacht builders buying the Aeoldrive / SolidSail technology from us, we can step up to 10 or even 20 masts per year in 5-10 years, and there. So by then we are talking about 200 to 400 tonnes of carbon used per year!

(*) Nicolas Abiven won the Transat Jacques Vabre 2003 in Imoca with Jean-Pierre Dick, for whom he was technical director for four years


  • TRANSAT JACQUES VABRE. The Maxi Edmond de Rothschild (Franck Cammas/Charles Caudrelier), built by Multiplast, won the Transat Jacques Vabre Normandie-Le Havre in the Ultime category ahead of SVR Lazartigue (François Gabart/Tom Laperche), for which the central hull was built at the yard. Just a month after her launch, Emile Henry-Happyvore (Nicolas d’Estais/Erwan Le Draoulec), the brand new Clak40 resulting from the joint effort from VPLP Design and Multiplast, finished in an encouraging 13th place, less than nine hours after the winner.
  • IMOCA. Mission accomplished for Multiplast who in December handed over to MerConcept, which is in overall charge of the project, the hull based on the moulds for Apivia, and then the deck of Maxime Sorel’s next Imoca V and B-Monbana-Mayenne. As for the construction of the new Malizia-Yacht Club de Monaco for Boris Herrmann, this continues as planned: the hull is finished and the bulkheads are being fitted, while the deck is being built.
  • CLASS30 OD.The UNCL, the RORC and the Storm Trysail Club, who are behind the project, officially launched the opening of reservations for the future Class30 One design boat at the Paris Boat Show (requiring a deposit of 2500 euros). Production of this 30-foot one-design boat (designed by VPLP Design) and aimed at sailing clubs, as well as racers in a special version, will be carried out by Multiplast. The first units are expected at the end of the first quarter of 2023.
  • GUNBOAT. Multiplast is working for the Grand Large Yachting Group on the construction of the future Gunboat 80, a high-performance cruising catamaran designed by VPLP Design. The yard is currently building the deck and the main bulkheads for the first unit. The deck is due to be delivered in the summer of 2022, while a second boat has already been ordered.

  • DÉCORATION. Christian Février and his partner Annie Fyot were honoured at the Multiplast yard on 21st November with the two marine and naval photographers awarded the title of Knight of the Sea Order by Rear Admiral François Bellec.

  • HIRING. Multiplast is continuing to hire staff and is currently looking for a foreman (man or woman) and composite technicians (man or woman). You can apply as indicated or contact us on +33(0)2 97 40 98 44




  recrutement multiplast

  © DR



Multiplast strenghetens its design office

Faced with an increase in activity, particularly in the aerospace sector, Multiplast have recently brought on board a new engineer and a processes technician to work in particular on the ambitious Flying Whales airship project.

In the last Multiplast newsletter, Dominique Dubois told how the Carboman Group that he leads have accelerated development in the aerospace sector, with large-scale projects, including Flying Whales, a giant airship, on which Multiplast was commissioned to carry out studies for the four rear wings of more than 20 meters wingspan each.

To fulfil this need the design office has been strengthened with the arrival in November of Maeg Lehoux and Elmis Yacin, who are working together on the project, the first as a project manager, the second as a design office technician. Neither are exactly new to this arena: the former, a 40-year-old native of Vannes, had already been at Multiplast for an engineering internship. The latter, a 29-year-old from Nantes, had previously worked for Airbus and had also spent time with the company a few weeks helping to assemble the fuselage for Alice electric aircraft.

"This collaboration allowed me to get closer to the Multiplast teams, to discover how they work and to appreciate the multiplicity of projects. I made up my mind to send in my CV, they called me in the summer and I was hired last month. The fact of moving from a large structure to an SME motivated me well, it is the opportunity to take more responsibilities, to show what I know how to do”, says the composites specialist.

"There really is a design job

we start with a blank sheet"

After eight years with a pleasure boat certification body in La Rochelle and then six at GSea Design, Maeg Lehoux accepted to join the design office in the Autumn. This is now a good opportunity for her to enjoy other ways of working: “In my previous positions, I have always been in offices, never close to production. Here the real, up close aspect and the direct contact with the ‘factory floor’ attracted me, it is fulfilling to also be thinking, considering the actual options for the methods of manufacturing parts. "

Production is not yet started on the Flying Whales project, since the first phase of studies has just been completed, but the new duo are enthusiastic about starting into a project with such a wide and interesting scope: “There really is a design job, we start with a blank sheet, it's really very interesting”, says Maeg. Elmis adding: “Everything has to be done. Even if there are specifications for the company, with steps to follow, we have a certain freedom.""

Yann Penfornis : +33 2 97 40 98 44 / +33 6 12 05 86 97

"If your dreams don't scare you, they are not big enough"