Two young students cross the Atlantic on a First 35S5
Coque En Plastoc, two keen surfers take on a sailing challenge
Keen surfers and sailors, with a passion for the sea since they were kids, Gautier Tiberghien and Lancelot Le Buhan have set off on an ocean crossing.At just 22 years old, they wanted to raise people’s awareness of plastic waste pollution on their travels.For this they had no qualms in taking out a loan to buy a First 35S5. On 22 September 2019, they cast off and set sail for Spain. A look at how their project got started.
How did the COQUE EN PLASTOC Association get underway?
Lancelot: I’m a medical student in Lille and Gauthier is studying engineering in Lyon. We both wanted to take a gap year. We quickly became aware that a year of holidays was really cool, but that we wanted to make ourselves useful during that time. The sea and the ocean is our passion, and has been our playground for a long time (we both enjoy windsurfing and kite surfing). Its pollution is of great concern to us. That is how the Coque En Plastoc project began.
Setting off on an Atlantic tour requires careful planning. How did you prepare for this ocean cruise and how long did it take?
Gautier: We first thought about the project last October. Then we bought the First 35S5 in April. We spent the whole summer working on and familiarising ourselves with her. We crossed the English Channel with a skipper to improve our sailing skills. Anyway, you are never really ready, but you have to know when to cast off!
"We crossed the English Channel with a skipper to improve our sailing skills. Anyway, you are never really ready, but you have to know when to cast off! "
Why did you buy a First 35S5?
Lancelot: We bought the First 35S5, because we both wanted a boat geared towards racing and cruising. We know that you can count on this class and it has an excellent reputation. We took out a loan to do this and we will probably have to sell it when we get back.
"We bought the First 35S5, because we both wanted a boat geared towards racing and cruising.We know that you can count on this class and it has an excellent reputation."
What specific alterations did you make to the boat?
Gautier: We fitted several parts ourselves (the furler for example), with the exception of the quick-release forestay. We made, soldered and fitted an arch, to support our solar panels. We installed an outdoor table that can be dismantled and we completely reworked the electronics. We also fitted nets in the cabins for storage and added little tricks to make life on board easier on what will be our house for the next 12 months. Apart from these fittings, we took care of the paint and varnish and did some handiwork on the linings.
"We also fitted nets in the cabins for storage and added little tricks to make life on board easier on what will be our house for the next 12 months."
How will you divide up the manoeuvres and other tasks on this two-handed transatlantic crossing?
Lancelot: We both know how to sail the boat single-handed. All the manoeuvring lines lead back to the cockpit, so the boat is manoeuvrable two-handed. It’s fairly physical for the watches and the crossing, but we are fortunate in that we’re in pretty good shape!
Have you planned technical support from onshore during the crossing?
Gautier: During the crossings, we will have a device that turns our smartphones into a satellite telephone (Iridium go). This means that we will be able to communicate with people onshore and download Grib files, which are very useful for the weather. Lancelot’s grandfather spent his life in the Navy and he will be following us closely. My younger brother will also be keeping a close eye on the weather. For technical problems, with our medical and engineering skills, we should be able to cope with most issues.
Your challenge is both competitive and eco-responsible. How will you persuade people to support your cause?
Lancelot: We have a Coque En Plastoc Facebook and Instagram page where we provide regular updates. We are in contact with the Ouest France (newspaper) which is also following us closely. And we are currently setting up a blog to tell people about our adventure. We did some fundraising on helloasso and we have already reached 30% of our goal with a video presentation of the project. Lastly, we will go and talk to people in harbours about their habits on board and ask them what good ideas they have and how they can respond to the ecological challenge.
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Published on 21.10.2019