Paris, the Nautic for women

At the Nautic this Friday, visitors had the chance to meet Sam Davies and Liz Wardley for the conference by SCA, the only all-female crew to be competing in the 2014-2015 edition of the Volvo Ocean Race. Another notable highlight at the show today was the prize-giving ceremony for the Prix du Livre Maritime (Maritime Book Prize) and the Nautic Motorboat Design Award in the presence of a prestigious jury including Didier Decoin and Odile Decq.

Team SCA, the only female crew competing in the next Volvo Ocean Race
On the Nautic stage this Friday, Marc Sanchez, President of SCA in France (a brand grouping together Demak’Up, Lotus, Nana, Okay, TENA and Tork), treated visitors to the Nautic, along with 230 of its group’s representatives, to a presentation of the all-female SCA team competing in the upcoming edition of the Volvo Ocean Race, which will set sail in October 2014 from Alicante. Accompanied by Sam Davies and Liz Wardley, two of the seven women who already make up the team, Mr Sanchez indicated that this first ever participation in the ex-Whitbread race by the Swedish Group founded in 1929, boasts a triple objective: to unite its colleagues right around the world in a major common project in which employees can identify themselves, to develop the company’s notoriety and to support women in the expanding role they occupy within the company. Team SCA, the fifth all-female crew in the history of the Volvo, has been training on a daily basis for the past eight months in Lanzarote. Having sized up its new VOR65 boat well ahead of its rivals, it is in the process of amassing significant experience and a substantial lead over the rest of the participants.

Prize-giving for the Prix du Livre Maritime l’Express (The Express Maritime Book Prize)
Every year, the Express and the Nautic combine their passion for the sea in a celebration of the finest maritime books. This meeting, whose vocation is to honour the remarkable and constant work of the publishers responsible for these fine works, places art and culture at the heart of the show. In 2013, one work that has particularly stood out through its subject matter, its iconography, its engraving, its layout, its paper and its publishing is “Les Pêcheurs des extremes” (Fishermen of the Extremes) by Marcel Mochet, published by Le Rocher. This very fine book bears witness to two powerful realities: the work on the deep-sea fishing boats and the end of this maritime culture in France. Its author is one of the rare journalists to have experienced daily routine on the deep-sea fishing boats in the Southern Ocean, offshore of Kerguelen, as well as in the high latitudes of the North Atlantic. He received his prize from the President of the Jury and the Marine Writers association, Didier Decoin, a writer and screenwriter awarded the Prix Goncourt (for which he is the General Secretary) and the Special Prize of the Jury at the Cannes Festival.

Nautic Motor Boat Design Award Prize-Giving
Launched this year by the Nautic to encourage design work by the yards creating production motorboats, the Nautic Motor Boat Design Award was awarded this Friday evening at the Nautic International Paris Boat Show. It is open to all the motorboats launched after September 2012, all the categories and price categories combined. The pre-selection process comprised all types of motorboats across Europe, namely launches, open boats, trawlers, ribs as well as fishing boats with sails. The prize rewarded the outline, originality, aesthetics, ergonomics and choice of materials (decor, upholstery…). The five finalists were exhibited in ‘Pavillon 4′ and were voted on by the public as well as a jury of professionals presided over by Odile Decq, an emblematic figure from French avant-garde architecture. The architect responsible for the Museum of Contemporary Art in Rome, the Palais de l’Opéra’s restaurant in Paris, the FRAC in Brittany and designer of the ATOM exhibited at the FIAC 2012, Odile Decq has also designed one of the most spectacular yachts ever created, the 45-metre Wally Esense, as well as creating the exclusive trophy for this Nautic Motor Boat Design Award. Alongside her in this exceptional jury are designer Philippe Starck, a monument of design and an aficionado of boats, for which he is one of the most creative designers, as well as Cédric Ragot, standard-bearer of a new generation of designers. Among them we also find two more women, Nathalie Bigaignon, General Secretary of the French Nautical Industries Federation, Stéphanie de Loustal, editor of Motor Boat, and journalists from the four corners of Europe including Michel Luizet, editor of Neptune magazine, Ole Enrik Nissen-Lie from the Norwegian magazine Batliv, Tessa Heerschop from Nautica (NL), Pier Francesco Pugno of Barche a Motore (IT), Guillaume Drelon from Jeep and finally Alain Pichavant, General Commissioner of the Nautic. The boat that wins the spectacular trophy is the Jeanneau NewConcept 14, which received nearly 45% of the votes.

Showcasing the 2014 edition of Rames Guyane
A transatlantic rowing race linking Senegal and French Guiana and contested single-handed, without stopovers or assistance, by around thirty rowers on one-design open boats measuring eight metres in length, the Rames Guyane was presented this Friday at the Nautic in the presence of Florent Malouda, the event’s patron. The kick-off for the 2014 edition will take place over the weekend of 18 October 2014 offshore of Saint Louis and will draw to a close after 4,700km (around 40 to 60 days) off the aptly named “Iles du Salut” (Salvation Islands).

Yachting female-style
Sexists would say that there are an increasing number of women in yachting for reasons of domestic harmony, but realists would admit that the marine universe draws great benefit from this natural evolution. Indeed there is an increasingly remarkable touch of femininity these days, both in terms of competition (Tour de France a la Voile, Volvo Ocean Race, etc.), and the design of cruisers, with dramatic effect: more welcoming, brighter, safer craft. The jury for the Nautic Motor Boat Design Award, that gathered together today, was driven by three women; the president of which is Odile Decq, French designer of the year.

The equipment manufacturers naturally followed this evolution very early on by integrating clothing lines in their catalogues, which are specially designed for female sailors.

Henri Lloyd, official supplier for the Princesses de Bretagne — the all-female Match Racing crew competing under the colours of Prince de Bretagne — is offering a new ultra-light jacket combined with salopettes for women, that come with a double zip. It goes by the name of L’Élite and incorporates Gore-Tex Micro-Grid membrane that is 30% lighter than the classic membranes, in a bid to come up with an offshore jacket to satisfy even the most diligent sailors.

At Musto, the most demanding sailors will have the chance to discover an ultra-technical line of clothing and accessories for all types of sailing (coastal, offshore, racing) and motor boating. More techno than feminine, the one doesn’t exclude the other with this British equipment manufacturer, which is unveiling at the show an ingenious new rucksack integrating a solar-powered charger for a digital tablet.

Meantime Marine Pool is continuing to flesh out its catalogue with a large collection of colourful, dynamic sportswear suited to life at sea and on the pontoons. Alongside them, Dubarry is bringing out a new top of the range deck shoe, the Auckland. The female equivalent of the widely recognised Regatta, this classic shoe – rust-coloured leather and three eyelet lacing – is equipped with a formidable sole which stands up to the challenge of a soaked deck. At Gill, female sailors will recognize a high quality coastal jacket in the CR11 W with its brushed mesh lining that has been carefully studied so you can wear it right next to the skin… This will soon be a must-have when you’re going from creek to creek in a rib for example. More suited to sailing out of season, the Electra by Cotten, with its toasty lining, is both fitted and bicolour. Finally, it’s important to highlight the arrival in the marine universe of the giant Adidas, which now boasts a catalogue of Racing products for men and women alike.

And so it would seem, like the fabulous fashion show organised last Saturday by 727 Sailbags, another company created by a woman, Anna Beyou, that the Nautic and women are decidedly connected.