Kéni Piperol, Guadeloupean skipper

Guadeloupean skipper Kéni Piperol explains to France-Antilles that his main objective is to participate in the Route du Rhum 2022 transatlantic yacht race, which goes from Saint Malo (Brittany) France and Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe. Here are translated excerpts from France-Antilles.

Returning to Guadeloupe to recharge his batteries, Kéni Piperol (24), from Morne-à-l’Eau, takes this opportunity to meet and discuss with institutional and financial players to ensure that he is at the start of the next Route du Rhum.

You are passing through, but you are not idle at all …  I came to Guadeloupe to recharge my batteries, to enjoy my family, my friends, but above all, to meet institutional and economic players in order to inform them of my progress on my project “On course for 2022,” particularly with a focus on Route du Rhum.

It’s been a year since you joined the Lalou Multi stable. Can you tell us about it?  It’s an offshore racing sports team, which has existed since 2007. The particularity of this team is that we do everything ourselves. We own a boat, we build them, we operate them and we race offshore. We have the whole chain within the team. What is interesting for a skipper like me is to be able to train in all aspects of the offshore racing profession. Soon, I will be building my boat, which will allow me to know it in great detail. The goal is to become a project manager, a business manager who can manage a team around this type of project.

How does it work out in practice?  It’s going really well. Clearly, I have taken it to the next level. I am fortunate to have the support and confidence of the Team. It’s a very professional team. I was able to participate in the construction of the Multi50 Arkema 4, which I then joined as a crew member and preparer. This experience gives me the opportunity to work on big dockyards, while continuing to sail, to practice the profession of skipper. Also, I am at the head of a project called Class 40. We have made good progress on the technique with the architects, but also on the recyclable materials that will be used for the construction. This boat will be 90% recyclable in order to think about the offshore races of the future.

What about your Cap 2022 project?  The main objective is to be present on the Route du Rhum 2022, with a successful, reliable boat that has already proven itself. This will consist of building a Class 40 in fully recyclable and efficient composite materials, from February, for launch in September, in order to carry out the first tests and to participate in the Transat Jacques Vabre in October 2021 (transatlantic race between the Havre and Brazil, NDLR).

Where are you in relation to this project? A lot of discussions are lined up with potential investors.For the moment, nothing is signed. This is one of the reasons why I am in Guadeloupe, in order to meet financial partners to carry out this project. With the health crisis, unfortunately, everything has been postponed. I hope to have answers quickly and support from Guadeloupe to be in the best possible conditions for the Route du Rhum 2022.

Is it an ambitious project? It is a project that will cost € 750,000. We would need a financial commitment of € 100,000 to get things started.The idea is to work for the long term. I’m on a four-year program: one, the Route du Rhum, then the French championships, and finally, the Tour du Monde in 2024, which will be the first edition.

Tell us about this social component that you want to put in place? Beyond that, we are also working on a social project. We would like young Guadeloupeans to benefit from the construction of the boat. The original idea was to assemble the boat in Guadeloupe. Unfortunately, with the crisis, this could not be put into place.

What is now proposed is to bring young people to the dockyard, so that there is a transfer of knowledge, technology, innovative materials, new construction techniques, and that upon their return, they can apply what they have learned, but also, so that they can come and support us in major events such as the Route du Rhum, for preparing the boat. [. . .]

Translated from the French by Ivette Romero. For full, original article, see https://www.guadeloupe.franceantilles.fr/actualite/sports/autres/keni-piperol-skipper-guadeloupeen-l-objectif-phare-c-est-d-etre-present-sur-la-route-du-rhum-2022-583815.php

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