Shipyard visit / Ateliers de la Gazelle des Sables, a building site in the middle of the vineyard

Gazelle des Iles in the middle of the vines

Original boat, original shipyard. BoatIndustry.com proposes you a small visit of the Ateliers de la Gazelle des Sables, installed in an old winery.

A building site for the good vintages

After several years in the Guérande peninsula, Patrick and Marie Besnié were looking for new premises. Not having found their happiness in the industrial zones, it is on a domain of the Coteaux du Layon that they throw their devolu. The Ateliers are now installed in the middle of the vines, in Chaudefond sur Layon.

Composite in the sheepfold

Patrick installed the composite unit in the sheepfold. It manufactures all hulls, decks and other parts in polyester and glass fibre. The gazelles are manufactured in RTM eco injection, under vacuum. To be as ecological and economical as possible, when it changes color gel-coat, Patrick does not empty the entire circuit. Simply swap the pumps and accept a slightly coloured resin. Hulls and decks are made in advance and stored in the reserve, with the hay!

Carpentry and fittings in the cellars

A wine vat still sits in the first cellar. While the wooden front axles are digitally pre-grooved, the rest of the joinery is done in-house. All the details are homemade, like the engine controls, cut from the scrap wood.

The oiling of the rooms, carried out separately for more cleanliness, takes place in the old building dedicated to the production of the barrels, as the black walls of smoke testify it.

The main cellar is used to arm the boats. The pace, now high, implies a semi-industrial approach. The elements are pre-assembled. A manufacturing sheet identifies each boat and summarizes all the options requested by the customer. Hull and deck already arrive equipped with wheels and possible electric motors. They are then prepared to receive the various equipment. Then comes the injection of polyurethane foam ensuring insubmersibility. It is a standard on the whole range of the building site. After that, Patrick and his team pose the whole deck hardware.

The rig is prepared on request. The aluminium tubes, cut on site and treated by a subcontractor, are fully equipped on site.

An outbuilding in the castle houses the sail room, where Marie makes the prototype sails.

Technology and ecology

No green washing here. Patrick and Marie intend to develop an ecologically responsible range, but without making it a commercial argument. Thus, after having made a first flax fibre hull in 2009, the technology is no longer up to date. The strong demand for green production has pushed up the cost of flax in a way that is disconnected from the real cost. They therefore prefer to continue with the classical methods.

Already offered with an electric motor for over 6 years, the gazelles can now be equipped with solar panels, for total autonomy.

The technological concern is found in the mode of production. With eco-injection, highly developed in industry, the need for tools and energy is limited. All the operations being carried out under vacuum, the olfactory nuisances are limited. "Living as a family 50 m from the workshop, this choice is a matter of course for us. We're not gonna poison our kids."

Investment in progress

Although the increase in production is no longer on the agenda, its organisation continues to improve in terms of quality and working comfort. The composite area is being expanded. A new bridge mould is being made for the Gazelle des Iles.

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