News from the builders

The Gunboat 72 Project - Women at the helm

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Agathe Calba -Gunboat 72 Project Manager

An engineer from France’s prestigious Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Arts et Métiers school, a graduate of ENSTA Brest and holder of a Master’s degree in architecture, it’s an understatement to say that Agathe did everything she could to get into boating: “I’ve been sailing an Edel 6 since I was a little girl, my parents are sailors”. Later, she renovated a Scampi and then took up wingfoiling. Today, she can boast of having sailed on the Gunboat 68 #4 and of having been on board for practically all the seatrials of the 72 #1... Agathe joined the Outremer Yachting team some 6 years ago now: “In the design office, I was responsible for the carpentry, electrical, plumbing, engines and other trades. Then I moved on to deck layout and rigs. Then came the transition to Gunboat, while I was in charge of the Outremer 5X, built in flax fiber for Roland Jourdain. Since then, I’ve been project manager for the 72. At the design office, I coordinate design and construction with production. Each Gunboat model has its own project manager. At the very beginning, I was the only girl in the design office, but now there are 3 of us. There are more women in purchasing, accounting, marketing... In fact, there are no positions closed to women. As far as I’m concerned, I don’t care: in college, I was already the only girl in my class...”

Inès Armandon - Client project manager

Having a French father and a Spanish mother, Inès was always on the move from a very early age - she graduated from a Spanish engineering school, but also went on to study business administration in Denmark... She began a promising career in management consulting, holding a series of positions of responsibility and assignments in very large companies. Until the demon of travel - and sailing in particular – got a hold of her: “My father was the skipper of a Swan, but I lost him when I was young. I always wanted to take my turn aboard a Swan and actually spent 3 months on one as crew, completing an Atlantic crossing in 2018. After that, I continued sailing in the Caribbean, did an internship at Les Glénans [one of France’s top sailing schools] and then embarked on a Transpacific passage aboard an over-equipped and overloaded catamaran. It took us 23 days to reach the Marquesas, while one of our boat buddies, also on a cat, did it in just 14! In short, I was a little frustrated when I set sail again... I joined Gunboat in October 2022 as client project manager. My role is to act as a link between the design office and the customers, and to ensure that all their wishes are fulfilled. I was able to sail aboard Gunboat #6. That was great fun, and helped me get it out of my head that catamarans don’t provide any thrills! My long-term goal in sailing is to circumnavigate, but before that, I might see if I can join as a crew member for a crossing of the Indian Ocean - the only ocean I haven’t yet visited! I’ll just have to pass my Yachtmaster first...”

Isabelle Racoupeau-Ramirez - Interior Design

Coming from the world of luxury interiors - textiles, furnishings - Isabelle went on to work in yacht interior design, starting in 2009. “We were already working with a customer on a multihull preliminary project, and it just so happened that this customer then signed for a Gunboat 72. That’s how I ended up on this project! I discovered a catamaran whose hulls are much finer than those of a mass-produced model. However, the volumes are pretty much set in stone, so we play with the colors. My work is the result of a long briefing on the shipyard’s specifications... and, of course, the buyer’s wishes. For me, it’s all about communicating smoothly with the design office, and trusting them not to restrict my creativity.” On Gunboat 72 #2, there will be a few cosmetic modifications. For Isabelle, this design mission is not about gender, but moreover about sensitivity. “It’s probably historical that there are more men in the marine industry. It may also be due to the fact that teaching is very competition oriented. What about lifestyle and contemplative sailing? In my opinion, sailing is still poorly marketed to women - I’ve noticed that catamarans appeal to women - they’re family-friendly, comfortable to use... For my part, I’m interested in the object, but not so much in the technical side. I like the sound of water, and I’m attracted by travel and everything imaginary in the world of cruising”.

Olesya Ivlicheva -Molding team leader

Russian by birth, Oleysa attended the dance conservatory in her former life. She arrived in France in 1999 to take on one very different assignment after another in bakery, nail styling, and airport security, among others. In 2019, she completed a laminating training course at the Institut Nautique de Méditerranée to join the Gunboat team. “Today, I manage a team of 6 or 7 people, I deal more specifically with the large parts of the catamaran, the nacelle and the transoms.” Olesya notes that, for the time being, there are more women working in the offices than in her workshop: “There are 2 women out of 15 employees in the molding team. In assembly, there are only two women as well. But these jobs aren’t just for men. For me, the requirements are to be willing to get up early, to be manual and have good DIY skills. When we’re faced with heavy loads, there’s always someone to help us. These production jobs aren’t always easy, but they’re very exciting. Of course, you have to love what you do... for me, my ultimate goal, my pride, is to see the catamarans we’ve built finally launched...”

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