Kairos: Combining offshore racing, water sports and the environment

Gwalaz, the linen trimaran developed by Kairos and Tricat for Lost in the Swell

For several years, Roland Jourdain's activity has gone beyond offshore racing. Endowment fund Explore, biomaterials, nautical nursery, environmental education... We took the opportunity of a meeting with Sophie Vercelletto, partner of Roland Jourdain, to get a clearer picture.

Birth of Kairos

Kairos was founded in 2006 to support Roland Jourdain's offshore racing projects. To facilitate the operation with his then sponsor, Veolia Environnement, he created the company that sold the sports project to its funder. But already, the sailor is thinking further. " In Kairos' corporate purpose, there were 4 objectives from the outset: ocean racing, the environment, pedagogy and transmission. And today, we are working on all 4 areas. "says Sophie Vercelletto, partner of Roland Jourdain, who joined her as a partner in 2009. " There was also the desire to diversify in order to avoid the single client. "

The Explore Fund team

Research in bio-materials

Materials are at the heart of the evolution of ocean racing. Roland Jourdain's team quickly began to think about the fibres used in boats, including the possibility of using natural fibres. " At the time of the sudden end of the partnership with Veolia, we received severance payments. We could have stopped everything and kicked the team out, but we preferred to invest in the design office and bio-materials "explains Sophie Vercelletto.

Kairos was thus able to work on plant fibres with the University of South Brittany and Ifremer. The arrival at the right time (the Kairos in Greek!) of the surfers of Lost In The Swell, in search of a flax fibre boat, gave birth to the Gwalaz, a trimaran built in partnership with Tricat. The project allowed for natural size tests and a study on aging after 2 years of expedition.

Projects developed by Kairos in biocomposites, presented at the JEC World

Today, Kairos is launching the first Kairlin commercial product, linen panels mainly for point-of-sale advertising. The design office sells services for the study of the replacement of traditional materials by natural fibres and participates in particular in the European research project on a Flower natural fibre foiler.

Nautical nursery and explorers' centre

Created in 2013, the Explore endowment fund supports explorer projects. Funded by the commercial company Kairos and various patrons, it provides practical, legal and communication support. Welcomed free of charge, the selected explorers take advantage of Kairos' workshops and premises in which to set up their project. Among the projects hosted, we can mention Nomades des Mer for the promotion of low-tech and energy-efficient solutions, Under The Pole or Plastic Odyssey for the preservation of the environment and the management of plastic waste.

Kairos' workshop in Concarneau

This collaborative place and the ambient emulation obviously interested beyond the explorers. To welcome innovative companies, Kairos has created its own business incubator. We can mention among others those welcomed in the Ino-Rope or Epoh nautical industry who are now flying on their own or AIM45 under development.

The explorations reach the general public, but to go beyond that, Kairos is also interested in schools. An agreement with the Rennes Rectorate allows it to train teachers and create educational tools to raise young people's awareness of environmental issues.

When asked if it is too late to save the planet, Emmanuel Poisson-Quinton, Explore's development manager, replies:" Yeah, but we're not teenagers. You can't say it's too late, too bad we're not doing anything! "The panel of Explore and Kairos projects is a good illustration of this.

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