Roland Jourdain’s success in the Route du Rhum on the We Explore flax fibre composite boat

Roland Jourdain shares the story of We Explore, from its inception to its successful participation in the Route du Rhum. He demonstrates that eco-design, specifically the integration of flax fibres in the boat’s construction, is technically feasible and does not compromise performance.

Roland Jourdain’s success in the Route du Rhum on the We Explore flax fibre composite boat

1 minute, 30 secondes

How eco-design makes your ship’s design We Explore so special?
Roland Jourdain: “We Explore is the largest catamaran (60 ft) built in plant fibre to date, with more than 50% of the surface area consisting of one hectare of Normandy flax. This technical innovation aimed at reducing the environmental impact of the boat is complemented by a reflection on the sobriety of use: the fittings and living systems are thought LowTech.”

Composite materials in natural fibres are more and more used in various sectors, what were the necessary adjustments to guarantee effectiveness and durability for the Route du Rhum?
Roland Jourdain: “Plant fibres such as flax have enormous potential and are not yet used enough! Within the framework of We Explore, we faced several challenges with VPLP naval architecture firm and Outremer shipyard, given the size of the boat. Calculations, testing and characterisation. Our Kaïros team brought ten years of experience to the table. The project focused on R&D for future industrialisation.
A new Terre de Lin quadriaxial fabric was designed to adapt to the industrial process in place in the Outremer yard. The flax is infused with vinylester resin, some parts in epoxy, and the fittings are made of our JEC 2022 award-winning material Kairlin®.
We Explore is a ‘too solid’ boat because the architects, and the yard, wanted me to cross the Atlantic without risk. Optimisations are possible to make future flax boats lighter.”

Listen to Roland Jourdain’s testimony at JEC World 2023.

Keynote: Roland Jourdain’s success in the Route du Rhum on the We Explore flax fibre composite boat
(Subtitles available on the lower right side)

Discover more videos on JEC Composites Web TV.

We Explore, being the first race boat of its kind, does it have a vocation to emulate in the field of ocean racing?
Roland Jourdain: “The future of ocean racing will be dictated by sponsorship. Society is changing and consumers are evolving, so companies must adapt. It is the move towards environmental performance that will make a company a success in the future. Ocean racing will therefore have to adapt, at the risk, in the age of social networks, of being seen as a sport that is no longer in line with the values it promotes.”

More information www.we-explore.org