Safran technologies on the podium

On November 15, Marc Guillemot made a stirring comeback to finish third in the Imoca class in the Route du Rhum-La Banque Postale transatlantic race. This was a remarkable human and technological performance.

From the third step on the podium for this legendary solo transatlantic sailing race from Saint-Malo in France to Pointe-à-Pitre in the French West Indies, Safran skipper Marc Guillemot has a broad smile on his face. "This podium finish really reflects my determination, because I never gave up," he says. "The energy I invested to sail the boat also comes from all the people at Safran who helped in our preparations, and who supported me across the Atlantic." Marc is fully aware that his latest success is also due to the close bonds formed by all partners in the project: naval architects, the shipyard, project managers, the Safran Sailing Team, and the Group's engineers and technical specialists who brought to the table the skills and expertise built up in their core businesses of aerospace and defense.

Aerospace techniques put to trial by water
Safran's daily challenge of reducing aircraft weight applies equally to its racing yacht. For instance, 3D woven carbon, a cutting-edge technology developed for the fan blades on the new LEAP-X engine, was also used on the rudders for the Safran Open 60 monohull ocean racer. Another step forward in terms of saving weight and improving reliability was the lithium-ion batteries, derived from development programs for the modernization of equipment used by infantry soldiers. The autopilot, a veritable "co-captain", also benefited from the Group's technological expertise, especially in inertial navigation, one of Safran's centers of excellence. Furthermore, the design of the boat's canting keel system took advantage of the Group's expertise on hydraulic systems for landing gear.

New innovations coming soon
Safran will shortly be fitted with a new hydrogenerator to produce electrical power for onboard systems. Safran's engineers are now working on refining the system, to make it simpler and more reliable, while delivering higher performance. The use of this system means that Marc will able to carry a lot less diesel fuel, and thus reduce weight while significantly decreasing the boat's carbon footprint!