22 mai 2020

The loss and resurrection of the Multi50 Drekan Groupe

Sailing is a contest with nature and the ocean. If Éric Defert has had success in that contest, as he did in setting the North Atlantic record single-handing with his Class40 in 2011, he has also experienced tears. In 2017, Éric and his co-skipper Christopher Pratt were taking part in the Transat Jacques Vabre on Drekan Group, a Multi50. Éric emerges from his rest period, down below in the main hull. It is dark, he and Christopher exchange a few words before Éric takes the helm, when the trimaran’s bows dig into a wave and the Multi50 capsized. It’s chaos in the darkness: the vessel is floating upside down, Christopher is somewhere outside. Then he appears at an escape hatch. After a night of waiting for help, the two sailors are picked up by a cargo ship. The Multi50 Drekan Groupe is abandoned, floating upside down, and when its beacon failed its lost. But fate hadn’t yet had its last word. 

In February 2019, the boat reappeared in the Bahamas after a transatlantic drift on her own, upside down. With the boat secured, Eric set off in July to right her back with the means at hand, a few shovels, sand and buckets. After 10 days of work, the multihull was righted, and despite some holes and bumps in the hulls, she floated and was ready for repair. This boat doesn’t want to die.

Once at anchor and secured in the Bahamas, the whole team set to work to repatriate the trimaran, taking her back to France by cargo ship – the same way Éric and Christopher were rescued two and a half years earlier. This trimaran, which has already known several lives, still has some great stories to write and share, whether it be in the context of scientific expeditions in the service of the ocean with the Iodyssséus programme, or by setting off again to dance on the waves in ocean racing, with the Transat Jacques Vabre 2021 as a particular goal.

Still supported by the Drekan Group, a French industrialist specialising in the maintenance of wind turbines, the team is looking for one or more financial partners to help them repatriate, repair and refit the boat. Many will be delighted to see her elegant silhouette once again entering Brest’s harbour to be pampered on quay n°5 for a winter before she takes off again for new missions. This ship does not want to die, as she has not yet accomplished all that it has yet to achieve, particularly with the Iodysséus programme.

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