The Transat bakerly education programme starts today

Used to building luxury Princess Yachts, the guys were also surprised at how basic below deck each boat was


First to take part in the programme were third year Princess Yacht building apprentices from City College Plymouth

Alongside the racing and public entertainment, The Transat bakerly offers an insightful education programme for local school children, university and maritime students in Plymouth.

First to take part in the programme was third year Princess Yacht building apprentices Corey Nesbitt, Dan Ramsey, Robert Oades, David Northey and Tom Soper.

As part of their three-year apprenticeship with world-renowned manufacturers Princess, the students are given the foundations they need to kick start a successful career in boat building, gaining experience in engineering, carpentry, fabricating and welding and design development.

Based on their curriculum, the apprentices’ interest today was in the manufacturing and build process of Class40s and IMOCA 60s, and the developments in their design to improve performance.

Jumping aboard Class40 Kiho, sailed by Japanese competitor Hiroshi Kitada, Kiho preparateur (technical team) Jean-Christophe Caso gave the group a tour of the Finot-Conq designed boat – explaining about first and second-generation boats, the different designs among the Class40 fleet and the composite process needed to build a Class40.

From the Class40s, the group moved on with Jean-Christophe to the IMOCA 60 fleet. Sixty-foot of super light, but tough carbon fibre, the group talked through the design innovations implemented to improve performance offshore. They were also told the difference between the new generation foiling IMOCA 60s – St Michel Virbac, Edmond de Rothschild and Banque Populaire VIII – and the non-foiling IMOCAs – SMA, PRB, Fin Air - taking part in The Transat bakerly 2016.

Spanning the breadth of sailing innovation, the Princess apprentices concluded their tour aboard the classic Pen Duick VI.

A 22 metre aluminum Ketch, Pen Duick VI is the last boat in the Pen Duick series and was designed by André Mauric in 1973 for legendary French sailor, Eric Tabarly, to compete in the Whitbread – a crewed round the world race.

Unfortunately during the race, Pen Duick VI suffered two dismasting and Tabarly was unable to prove his or the boats potential.

However, Pen Duick VI’s time to shine came in the 1976 edition of The Transat, then known as the OSTAR. After losing radio contact just a few days after his departure from Plymouth, Race Organisers feared Tabarly was lost at sea. But Tabarly in fact arrived first to Rhode Island in a time of 23 days, 20 hours and 12 minutes, his second Transat win.

Speaking after the tour, Corey, Dan, Robert, David and Tom were amazed at the importance of keeping the weight down aboard these world-class yachts. Used to building luxury Princess Yachts, the guys were also surprised at how basic below deck each boat was. The group found it hard to believe that one person could sail Pen Duick VI, but equally as hard to image 14 people sailing the boat during the Whitbred.

Their course leader, Martin Boulter from City College Plymouth, explained how lucky they were to get so close to the yachts, even getting to say hello to Loick Peyron while he washing down his boat, Pen Duick II, in Sutton Harbour.

A successful start to The Transat bakerly education programme.

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