Vendée Globe 2012 skipper Bernard Stamm’s monohull, Cheminées Poujoulat, was lowered into the water on Thursday in La Ciotat in Southern France.
On Friday morning, the brand new 60-foot boat successfully passed the 180° test, before her mast was stepped. The Swiss skipper will now be able to begin his busy schedule leading up to the 2012 Vendée Globe, which remains his main goal.
As laid down in IMOCA rules, each new boat has to undergo a 180 degree righting test. This is always a spectacular event, which involves turning the hull upside down, with her keel in the air, with the help of a crane, as if the boat had completely capsized and was dismasted, with the skipper inside trying to right her without any outside help, by moving the canting keel. This test was successfully passed on Friday.
Bernard Stamm: 'This is a very stressful moment. Inside the boat, you can’t see what is going on. It’s dark and you can hear some dull thumps. This test really makes the skipper aware of what may happen if his boat capsizes. I’m pleased it went smoothly. It was also an opportunity to check that the deck was watertight. We found some very small leaks and now we know exactly where they are.'
'Next up, getting the sails in place, carrying out checks, tests and then we’ll be out there sailing,' explained the Swiss skipper, who was both pleased and in a hurry to discover his new boat. In order to be in the best of shape for the start of the Vendée Globe, Bernard and his sponsor have a busy schedule ahead of them as the new Cheminées Poujoulat will be taking part in the Europa Race in July, the Fastnet Race in August and the Transat Jacques Vabre in October.' Vendée Globe website