Décision - The ambassador of ''Swiss Made'' around the world
Bertrand CARDIS is an exprienced sailor, who has completed the Whitbread round the world race and represented switzerland at the Los Angeles Olympic games.
Beyond his achievements as an elite sportsman, however, yhe man had a dream : to build boats.
One record after another.
is pioneering spirit led to the birth of Décision, a unique shipyard developing brilliant racing vessels that are recognised worldwide by the most important sailing stables and represented on the most prestigious circuits.
Passion, hard work and fate have taken Bertrand Cardis further than he could possibly have hoped, since the Décision shipyard, which he has run since 1984 at Ecublens, has produced the most high-performance boats in the world. This engineer by training still goes sailing, but defines himself these days as an entrepreneur.
The list of achievements wholly or partially attributable to boats designed by Décision is as long as a transatlantic race.
First the victories:
one Whitbread* with UBS Switzerland, 22 Bols d'Or including 10 with the Décision 35s, two America's Cups with Alinghi, one Jacques Vabre Transatlantic, Race with Groupama 2, the Léman and Lac de Zurich Blue Riband with the flying boat Hydros.ch and another Whitbread with UBS Switzerland.
There then come the participations in the most renowned regattas such as the Little Cup 2013 and 2015, the Volvo Ocean Race 2013 and 2014, the Vendée Globe 2012 and the title of Boat of the Year in 2004 with Solune, a 60-foot monohull.
Impressive? No, unrivalled.
Sea pray and air
Since it was set up 30 years ago this year, Décision has been active in the fields of shipbuilding in the form of the production of numerous prototypes and boats intended for open-sea racing. The keystone of its success is to be found in expertise and unique know-how in the field of composite materials. Motorised yachts as weil as professionallifeboats and transport vessels also regularly come out of Bertrand Cardis' hangars.
The technical skills, experience in the field of ultra high performance fibres and the capacity for innovation and adaptation that typify the Décision shipyard are not limited to shipbuilding. Its reputation has extended to the aeronautical field, since Décision has been collaborating on the Solar Impulse project since its start-up thanks to its production of the main supporting structures of the HB-SIA solar aeroplane prototype, such as the longerons of the load-bearing planes, the fuselage, the engine support and the cockpit. The prototype is soaring towards an already acknowledged success and the adventure is continuing with the development of the HB-SIB, which will be attempting to make the first round-the-world flight without fuel in the spring of 2015. The extremely light carbon fibre parts are already being manufactured in the Ecublens workshops, like the nose cones that will house the aircraft's propellers. The aeroplane will be capable of flying day and night, in al! weather conditions, and will provide Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, who are the initiators of the project and will be the pilots, with an ergonomie and roomier cockpit for the four- or six-day stages. In 2009, Bertrand Cardis and his team had once again brilliantly took up a challenge - th at of Yves Rossy (alias Jetman) - by making the equipment and carbon fibre reaction wing used by the "flying man".
This unique expertise in the aeronautics field opens new doors for the Swiss shipyard. Aware of having anticipated the trend and built up experience, Décision can point to a genuine legitimacy in the air and sea sector and is extending its business to take in the manufacture of parts for aviation. With his sailor's wisdom, Bertrand Cardis reveals: "With Solar Impulse we have acquired major skills in the field of aeronautics. We'd like to continue to develop down that road even though we're still interested in high-performance and highly specialised boats. We're initiating an industrial change of direction and are also devoting our know-how to the manufacture of component parts for civil aircraft".
The first yacht designed by Mercedes-Benz
At the end of 2013, Décision merged with Multiplast, a French company with which the Swiss workshop had collaborated on severa! programmes. This merger led to the establishment of the industrial group Carboman, under the management of Dominique Dubois and in which Bertrand Cardis is the sales manager. Its objective is to continue its breakthrough with the major players in the aeronautics, communications or luxury goods sectors, whilst at the same time consolidating its position as leader in the field of competition vessels.
The group's first-born, the Silver Arrow Marine 460, elicits ali the superlatives you can imagine and resembles a genuine racing car of the seas. Supremely alluring, futuristic, luxurious and fast, it was conceived by Silver Arrows Marine with a Mercedes-Benz hallmark design.
The first boat dreamt up by the renowned German manufacturer is too imposing for the Léman, but as of 2015 it will be showing off its dean !ines off the swankiest beaches in the world. Its impressive fibreglass prototype is currently being built at Décision.
Behind the scenes
Like ali challenges, the Silver Arrow Marine 460 was the subject of a preliminary study which confirmed the feasibility of the project. Then the idea takes shape in a process whereby strict specifications are followed - specifications that are drawn up in collaboration with the engineering office responsible. The boat materialises in the workshop wh en a wooden mou Id is constructed, the cornerstone element, which will be lined with carbon fibre, fibreglass or aramid fibre, depending on the type of boat to be built. In this respect carbon, which is lighter, is used for racing yachts, whilst fibreglass, which is heavier but sturdy and with good shock-absorption properties, tends to be used for motorised yachts.
The hulls, as weil as ali the parts used in the construction of the craft, most often resemble a sandwich-like stack, alternating fibres pre-impregnated with epoxy resin, a honeycomb or PVC foam structure and a second fibre layer. The elements created-in this way are then oven-fired at a temperature of 90° for ten hours or so, to polymerise the resin that will bond the fibres to each other and ensure the solidity of the parts produced. This is then followed by the final phase, assembly. Once the prototype has been finished, each member of the team fulfils a predefined role, according to his area of specialisation. Shipbuilders, joiners, cabinetmakers and painters will set in place an assembly line for mass assembly capable of producing severa! boats a year just like the Décision 35s, the Formulais of the Léman, of which twelve were made.
Bertrand CARDIS, a pioneer by nature
As a sailor, Bertrand Cardis has sorne extraordinary memories: rounding Cape Horn, surfing 17-metre waves during the Round-the-World race or taking part in the Olympie Games, but the love he has for his line of business invariably brings him back to technical subjects. He readily acknowledges that the building method used to make the ultra-light structure of Solar Impulse HB-SIB is still one of the innovations to have come out of his workshops that particularly rn oves him, when he admires the slender solar aircraft's languid, feather-light flight.
He recounts with a smile how in 1985 the Décision yard had already made quite an impression by loading the UBS Switzerland Maxi Yacht into an Airbus. A 25-metre boat in an aeroplane - that was a first.
For Bertrand Cardis, "the challenge is ali about finding the balance. You have to push high performance levels and excellence to breaking point. That's where our talent lies".