Atlantic Cluster, the outcome of a process
The desire to create a maritime cluster in New Aquitaine was born in 2017, as Martin Lepoutre explained to us in the fall of the same year . It results from the merger of the regions and the consequences of the NOTRe law. A prefiguration association was created in July 2017, chaired by the former owner of the rochelais shipyard RM Yachts. After one and a half years of implementation, a constituent general meeting was held on 31 January 2019. It was the opportunity to choose a definitive name: Atlantic Cluster and to elect its board of directors of about twenty members and its bureau headed by Laurent Da Rold, from the Yacht Concept nautical design office. In the summer, the association had already recruited a director, a permanent employee, Gaelle Pallu de la Barrière, formerly in charge of Neel Trimarans' communication.
Represent all boating sectors and basins in the region
The objective of the Atlantic Cluster is to reflect geographically and economically all aspects of boating in New Aquitaine," says Gaelle Pallu of the Barrière. "By the end of 2018, we had reached 90 members, 60% of whom were in the northern zone including La Rochelle and Rochefort, 30% in the centre around Bordeaux and the Arcachon Basin and 10% in the south in the Basque Country. We are targeting 150 members in 2019."
The members are divided into 8 colleges, covering all activities related to boating:
- Boat builders
- Equipment manufacturers
- Maintenance and refitting of boats over 70 meters long
- Maintenance and refitting of boats less than 70 metres long and small ship repairs
- Ports and nautical services
- Technical competence centres and R&D
- Qualified personalities (Universities, Clusters...)
- Development partners (New Aquitaine Region and various EPCIs)
A tool for promoting and financing boating
The role of the cluster is twofold: to give commercial visibility to the neo-Aquitaine nautical sector and to finance members' collaborative projects. "We have a role in promoting members at national and international level in consumer and BtoB shows, in line with what other regions are doing. It will start as early as Nautic 2019," explains the director of Atlantic Cluster. "The aim is also to support the collective actions of our members, which will emerge from the working groups set up on innovation and R&D, the refit of more and less than 70 metres, environmental management and training and recruitment in the nautical sector. Themes such as resins without styrene, the future shipyard, the energy transition, the flying boat or the connected boat are already being studied. We will provide direct funding and are intended to become a technical validation commission for the New Aquitaine Region, another possible source of funding."
Long behind regions such as Brittany or Occitania, New Aquitaine seems to want to set up ambitious structures for a boating industry that weighs on a national level.