In March, the 3-masted vessel Le Français stopped over at the Port of Concarneau, Construction et Réparation Navales for her annual technical stop. On board, a crew of 8 sailors, including Mickaël, chief mechanic and head of the chandlery. Interview.
A word on the history of this tall ship?
Mickael Cheverau: Built in 1948 in Svendborg, Denmark by J. Ring-Andersen, the nearly 50m long ship was originally used to transport goods and supply for Greenland. Its double oak hull allowed it to navigate in polar waters. At that time, the ship was exclusively propelled by engine and had no masts. It was only in the 1980s that she was rigged with 3 masts for use in the movies, by a British billionaire.
Is neither a “warship” nor a “pirate ship” as one might think! In 75 years of sailing, this boat has had several lives, and we continue to preserve it to make it long-lasting.
What are the missions of this sailing ship?
M.C: When it arrived in St-Malo, its home port, at the end of 2018, Le Français was dedicated to events: public relations, maritime events, movie productions, etc. Now, the ship’s main mission is to provide education for schoolchildren.
Le Français is chartered for most of the year by the association ” Grand Voilier Ecole“, based in Brest. Young people come on board with us for a few days at sea. We share human values associated with sailing: team thinking, challenging oneself, solidarity… while transmitting our passion for the maritime sector.
Le Français is also chartered by the fund “Le Français, témoin des pôles ” (witness to the poles) to raise awareness of the environment and the loss of ice among young people from primary to secondary school. The ship then becomes a nomadic school that travels from port to port. The cargo room is transformed into a classroom at the quayside. At the beginning of April, the vessel will leave for a three-week “polar school” in Brest.
Why did you choose the Port of Concarneau, Construction et Réparation navales for your technical stop?
M.C : Le Français is making his third technical stop here for two main reasons:
– The local companies have real expertise and a renowned know-how in shipbuilding and repair.
– The tools and port facilities are perfectly adapted to the vessel and its requirements.
The ship has just arrived in the Port of Concarneau at the beginning of March for her annual technical stop which will last between 3 and 4 weeks. She should be dry-docked in the next few days with the use of the boat lift for a complete overhaul carried out by Piriou Naval Services and an additional operation by the Chantier du Guip for the watertightness of the hull.
The Port of Concarneau’s facilities are perfectly adapted to such a ship. The wooden hull is very vulnerable, and dry-docking is always a very tricky operation. The boat lift in Concarneau allows the ship to be placed on a long platform and to be carefully and safely dry-docked.