With the Mini 6.50 Arkema 3 christened, Quentin Vlamynck is fit and ready for the great challenge of the Transat
Although essentially symbolic, the christening of a boat is always a special landmark in a project, as Quentin Vlamynck explains: "It's great to be able to share a moment like this with the Arkema teams, starting with the Chairman Thierry Le Hénaff. This is a great opportunity for everyone to come together around a beautiful boat, the only one of its kind, and for those involved in its construction to enjoy. I hope it will bring me luck in the Mini Transat!"
Pleased to have got this far
On board his superb craft, Quentin Vlamynck clearly has a different bearing and knows what is expected of him, especially as he has already experienced one Mini Transat race. In 2015, already with the backing of the Arkema Group, he had actually set off on a second-hand series boat to notch up experience, while his prototype was taking shape in the boatyard.
"I was leaving for the unknown, and quite frankly, I was not sure I was going to enjoy the experience", recalls the young skipper who successfully completed the race. "It was not particularly easy with the Mini of those days which was not competitive, but I liked sailing across the ocean, and I found out about the course. It made me want to do it again."
Since then, Quentin and the Lalou Multi team have carried out a tremendous amount of work, first with a long period at the project stage when they had to validate the technical choices and the many innovations, some of which were revolutionary. Then after the boat was launched in June 2016, a delicate phase began to take control of the boat and make it thoroughly reliable. Quentin Vlamynck: "The pace of work picked up, we took the time to do everything properly, to discover the boat methodically. At the beginning, we had a few nasty surprises, systems that needed adjusting. It was not easy on morale to pick up the pieces. But it was the price we had to pay to successfully integrate new innovations. I now feel confident on board this incredible boat. I’m pleased to have got this far. We have achieved as much as we could with the time and the budget at our disposal. Now I can’t wait for the race to start…"
Before the start of the race that will take him from La Rochelle to Martinique via the Canaries, Quentin has already had a rewarding experience in every way with the support he has enjoyed. "Taking charge of a boat like this without the backing of a super team would be very difficult", he concludes.
Transmission of knowledge at the heart of the project
The story between Lalou Roucayrol's team and Quentin Vlamynck began in 2011, when Quentin was not even 18 years old. At the time, Lalou was looking to recruit a motivated youngster from the Aquitaine region to take up sailing as a career. For Lalou, Quentin Vlamynck's profile seemed to fit, and the two men quickly developed a strong bond. Quentin started by following the construction of the Arkema Multi50 and so learned a great deal about ocean racing craft as well as the use of Arkema’s materials. We know what happened next, the initiatory Mini Transat in 2015 followed by the construction of an unusual and innovative prototype…
Throughout the various stages of these projects, Lalou and Fabienne Roucayrol were there to support Quentin and help him along. “Passing on knowledge has always been a mantra for me; it's something you do day in day out”, explains Lalou. "Where possible we sail together to correct what needs correcting, to pass on to him the way we work and give him the keys to succeed on water while fine-tuning this boat which boasts extraordinary speed capabilities. But transmission of knowledge stretches far beyond sailing per se because the work of a skipper encompasses much more: mutual respect with the members of the team, managing the project, technical issues, ability to improve and scale up the craft…"
Quentin Vlamynck now holds the keys to the Mini 6.50 Arkema, and it is down to him to perform and plot his course across the Atlantic! "Of course, Quentin still has things to learn, but in a few days' time he will be on his own on the starting line of the Mini Transat. And we are confident", concludes Lalou Roucayrol.