The Belgian branch of Garnier, world wide specialist of beauty products, announced their sponsorship of Belgian skipper Patrick de Radigués and Open 60 ‘Garnier’ for a 3 year campaign, starting with Around Alone 2002/3.
De Radigués is fully motivated: "It is time that matters now, with intensive improvements on this 'sailing laboratory' and lots of training needed, but we are taking a step by step approach to the programme. Starting Around Alone will be the last step of many smaller ones, which originally began with a tremendous hunger for sailing, inspired by my Grandfather when I was six years old. After the start, the next step is to perform the best I can. In sailing I've learned to look beyond the horizon."
The 46 year old Belgian skipper, currently living in Monaco, will be assisted by the former owner of this Open 60, renowned French skipper Yves Parlier, and his technical crew, to transform the boat. De Radigués is also taking up an intensive fitness programme tailor made by one of his team members. "I am learning a lot of meteorology from Pierre Lasnier. He and Parlier will be my consultants when I bring Garnier to the US as part of the qualification," he added.
'Garnier', the former 'Aquitaine Innovations', is now sporting an all-white hull with a splash of orange on the coach roof, a brand new, stronger, carbon mast and some new sails. The Open 60 was christened by the famous Belgian artist Jean Marie Folon, who compared the adventure of de Radigués to that of an artist: "The whiteness of a sheet of paper is gigantic and challenging", the painter said. "So is the vast ocean. We both go where no-one else goes. So we both are aware of the remarkable journey that is about to happen."
De Radigués is working with the technological department of the University of Liege (Belgium) to see where 'Garnier' can be improved. It is the same department that worked for the development of the new 'Belgacom' Open 60 trimaran with skipper Jean Luc Nélias. It is not sure yet if 'Garnier' will be fitted a new keel before the Around Alone race. The computer driven communication and data system will be controlled and improved where possible. 'Garnier' will now be brought back to her home base in France for training and testing together with Parlier. In August, the Belgian skipper will sail her to Newport where he has to arrive by September 1st.