Sailor, Chivalric Order Member
Who is Yves Parlier?
Yves Parlier is a French sailor and composite material expert, born in 1960. He is very well known in the offshore sailing world for his abilities as a skipper and also for his many contributions in the areas of naval architecture, composite materials, navigation systems and security devices.
His competition record spans twenty years and includes no fewer than seven victories in transatlantic (transat) races, three Vendée Globe circumnavigations, the 24 hour distance record for a 60 foot craft, both as a team and solo, and several other victories or top places in various races.
His engineering leadership is maybe most visible with the hydraplaneur concept which he and his team invented and perfected, and which is an adaptation of the stepped hulls found on seaplanes. It is aboard Médiatis Région Aquitaine, a 60 foot catamaran designed with such hulls that Yves Parlier broke the 24 hour distance record, twice, and by more than 55 nm. There are many other innovations, small and big, visible or hidden, owed to Parlier and his team, for example a distress kite which can be used to locate craft in need of assistance or also an ongoing project for ships propulsion based exclusively on renewable energy.
While leading the fleet through the Indian Ocean, in the vicinity of the Kerguelen Islands, the mast of Aquitaine Innovations broke in half, causing also secondary damage to the rig The Vendée Globe competition has very explicit rules pertaining to disqualification in case of physical assistance of any form and in case of making port anywhere before the return to Les Sables d'Olonne: the lone skipper must make do with what's available aboard, do everything on his/her own and he or she cannot get on land. However, Parlier was determined to complete the race, he therefore jerry-rigged temporary sails which took him to the relative calm of a cove off she shore of Stewart Island in New Zealand some 4,000 miles from where the mast broke, generally in the direction of the race. He then spent two weeks in this cove rebuilding a mast from its parts and using some of the synthetic compounds in the emergency repair kit. This task involved many steps including that of creating some kind thermically insulated conduit where with the help of his sacrificed kitchen oven the necessary temperature for proper binding could be reached. Last but not least the "new" mast had to be put back in place, using an ingenious system with the boom, unused parts of the mast and assorted cables, blocks and rope. Fully "refitted", the aptly named Aquitaine Innovations was back in the race, as it was indeed competitive with the last few boats of the fleet, particularly all the way to Cape Horn, but understandably less so in the final leg, up the Atlantic, given the reduced sail area. Yves Parlier had done it: 126 days 23 hours and 36 minutes.
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