Since 2019, the Banque Populaire Team has been mobilized on the Maxi Banque Populaire XI construction site, which is continuing its journey. Armel's future Ultim should be launched in spring 2021! Focus with Armel, Team director Ronan Lucas and the head of the study office Gautier Levisse.

A giant puzzle that takes shape
The work began in January 2019. Before defining its geometry, we started by producing a sort of white paper for Banque Populaire IX which, following a breakage, capsized at the Route du Rhum 2018”, explains Gautier Levisse, head of the design office. The new maxi trimaran, signed by the architectural firm VPLP and whose graphics were designed by Jean-Baptiste Epron, innovates like its supporting plans and its foils , two and a half times larger. Team Banque Populaire's design office got down to designing internally and on site “the majority of systems up to interior fittings”.
Every aspect of this titanic site requires hours of work and reflection. Gautier attests: “just for the two floats, the central hull and the connecting arms, eighteen months of construction were necessary! “ To assemble this giant of the seas, the skills to bring together are plethoric. Composite specialists, master yachtsmen, engine manufacturers, hydraulics engineers, shipbuilders - each supplier, outside worker and each member of the Team is fully involved.

Reliability at the heart of our thinking
Over the months, the trimaran has grown considerably. Thus, the two floats are painted and in position, the central hull, the arms and thelisten bar have been assembled. The winch furniture has been installed, the cap and fairings have been delivered, as have the first rudders and the drift . Thespectacular foils are still in the process of being built and the mast is soon about to be fitted out. In addition to performance, reliability is at the heart of the thinking.
“To strengthen Banque Populaire XI as much as possible, we are one of the rare teams to systematically require a double check by a second firm of experts for structural calculations ,” explains Ronan Lucas, head of Team Banque Populaire. “We decided to increase the processes. On the front arm, for example, there is a box which takes up all the loads and forces in the event that the fairing breaks following the accidental encounter with a UFO. We also have optical fiber everywhere, especially in the fairings. Visibility to the front has been improved thanks to cameras and a detection system at the masthead and in front of the drift . The new trimaran will be more focused on flight but also more robust since it will weigh a ton more than its predecessor. "

Armel Le Cléac'h, the new challenge
He must have found it hard to hide his impatience and enthusiasm. Armel's face lights up when he mentions the Maxi Banque Populaire XI with which he will make his first trips to sea next spring. Winner of his third Solitaire du Figaro last September, the The skipper is now focused on the construction of the boat: “I mainly worked on the design of the giant trimaran at the start with the architects, engineers and the design office,” he explains. “I regularly visit the yard to take stock with the team on progress, ergonomics, the sails providing my opinion but also my wishes. The rest of the time, I do physical preparation work to be sharp because the Ultims are fabulous but demanding! "

A busy schedule
As soon as it is launched, Armel Le Cléac'h will be preparing to increase the number of trips to sea in order to carry out a whole series of tests and validations. " P uis we leave for a tour of the south west and the Mediterranean to meet the regional Banques Populaires, before returning in late July by making a return Atlantic, probably to the West Indies. This is the time essential for the development of such a machine in order to be ready for the first race of Banque Populaire XI: the Transat Jacques Vabre from Le Havre, on October 24, 2021 ” specifies theBreton skipper .