Marlow Meets Marie Gendron & Projet Le Mini
September 25, 2017 | posted by Jon Mitchell
Marlow Ropes is delighted to be working with Marie Gendron on her Project: Le Mini 930 which sees Marie, at the age of 18, build her own boat, a Mini Transat and prepare to sail it solo across the Atlantic in 2019. Marie is using Marlow’s DM20 rope to rig Le Mini and will be providing information towards a case study on the use of the rope product for this purpose. Ahead of Le Grand Pavois, Rochelle which Marlow will be exhibiting at, Marie’s skipper will be rigging the mast to Le Mini on 29th September. We managed to catch some time with Marie during her busy schedule to ask her a few questions about the project:
WHEN DID YOU START LE PROJET MINI & HOW HAS THE JOURNEY BEEN?
The Mini Project has been a childhood dream and a passion. It is a dream that has come to fruition, evolving over time. Basically I just wanted to build my boat. At 18 years old, during my studies I found the opportunity when our teachers asked us to develop a project that will be graded at the end of the year. Several projects were presented by the teachers but none liked me, so I proposed mine and this one was accepted since my formation on composite materials had a link with this project. In two weeks, I found a mold for the hull, architectural plans (and not just any of them – those of William Verdier) and some personal finance to launch the construction. I knew very well that this category of sailboat that I was starting to build was part of a category where we could run races and even make a transatlantic, but at the time, building my own boat was more important to me. At 18 I was dealing with sponsors, managing a team (mostly boys), talking to associations and building the boat. In just one year I felt as if i’d grown another three years!
Over time I had difficulty financing the project and my engineering studies complicated the work to advance the construction. I was also able to learn many other methods and materials in my field of composite technical materials. I said to myself that I would like to reduce the environmental impact of the boat by including new technologies such as the recycling of carbon fibers. We were therefore to make (with a research laboratory) parts of the sailboat from recycled carbon fiber. It is a real research work around the circular economy that I am pleased today to promote.
Following the construction in 2015, I sailed a lot in competitions including J80, Multi50, Figaro, Mini 650. All allowed me to obtain the status of sportsman at a high level.
Once my studies were completed and my diploma acquired I could focus 100% on the project and its communication to a wider audience. I could also take insurance as I was 24 years old and I never gave up my construction. My perseverance and my willingness to progress in the sailing world has opened doors for me and today I can claim to be on the starting transatlantique line in 2019 after a long journey throughout this Project.
WHAT SUPPORT HAVE YOU HAD?
I have helpers of all kinds. The first was from my friends and family who participated in the crowdfunding campaign that I led. Then during a chance meeting, through car-pooling, I was able to get my first biggest financial partner. This was followed by the support of the city in which I pulled my first edges. And finally, in parallel, I have obtained technical aids from manufacturers and top suppliers such as textile rig, deck fittings, electronics and marine equipment.
HOW HAVE MARLOW ROPES SUPPORTED YOU?
Marlow supports me technically – it’s expertise in textile materials allows me to make my rig rigidly 100% because it is a very important point when one is in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, the rigging is our engine and it would not be able to remain blocked in the middle of the Atlantic without a mast. Due to their knowledge in the industry, Marlow has been able to put me in contact with professionals to assist with my rigging.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT MARLOW’S PRODUCTS?
Quality and diversity of products. I was looking for a very special material, able to withstand a difficult environment such as humidity, salt, sun, friction sails, shocks and traction capacity. The DM20 corresponds exactly to my specifications. Likewise for all the rest of the current rigging, such as the sheets and halyards, I had enough quality choices to make the boat a real competition machine.
WHAT ARE YOUR HOPES & DREAMS FOR THE PROJECT?
I do not necessarily want to be the first in every race, although of course this is a lot of fun, but I hope I can do all the qualifying regattas for the mini transatlantic with my own sailboat. The road is still long before arriving on this starting line in 2019. This will require a lot of physical preparation, mental, strategic, security, as well as enough finance for all future entries.
But really, for this project I just wish to spread a message of circular economy for these beautiful technologies, as well as a message to women to persevere to their dreams and especially to bring this boat to the other side of the Atlantic after all that he has taught me ashore.
WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE?
This project was so very early in my life that it has set the tone for the future. I would like to continue building, if my partners follow me, with even more technological ideas around circular economy and ecology while still performing. I’d like to develop my ideas in foiling and rigid wing systems too.