27 years old
ST MARC SUR MER
In a relationship
Composite engineerhttp://www.marie-gendron.fr Go to skipper medias
Built by hand and by heart
Marie, a young woman with boundless energy, has created a Mini project that is essentially an adventure involving the construction of a boat like no other: a prototype built within the rules, with her own fair hands and her heart. This enterprise has been efficiently run by this 27-year-old sailor, who for five years from 2012 to 2017, took up the massive challenge of creating her own boat. This all kicked off at the IUT polytechnic in Nantes, where Marie was studying composite materials and set up a project enabling a group of students to get their hands on some carbon fibre to form the hull, bulkheads and coachroof of a... Guillaume Verdier design... no less!
“I dreamt of having my own little boat. However, with no money, being a student, it’s hard to buy one, so it was as well to build! Once you’ve got to that stage, a prototype is always more beautiful and faster,” Marie easily explains. “It was a long old road. However, in September 2017, two years before the start of the Mini, I launched the boat with my own hands, like a birth. That in itself made reaching the end of the process worthwhile!”
Given Marie’s motivation and her ability to move mountains, it comes as no surprise that the famous naval architect entrusted his plans to her. Understandable too that Etienne Bertrand, himself a naval architect and builder of numerous Mini 6.50s, also readily got involved in this great story alongside Marie in order to bring the construction of this promising and innovative prototype to fruition.
With an entourage made up of this great small boat specialist and teachers and researchers from the Bordeaux laboratory I2M, Marie has continued to remain committed to the project, even taking it as far as it will go in an environmentally-friendly direction. Indeed, her atypical Mini, a brilliant on-the-water ambassador for sustainable development, comprises recycled carbon (the door, the helm…). “The circular economy is a key value in this project. It shines a spotlight on the challenges facing naval construction and the need to find solutions, which are more respectful of the environment,” reasons the sailor, whose entrepreneurial temperament clearly hasn’t finished surprising those around her. In fact, armed with her strong convictions, her project recently joined the “Ocean As Common” campaign created by Catherine Chabaud, herself a former Mini sailor. This comes as great recognition for Marie, for whom the best is yet to come with a much deserved Atlantic crossing at the helm of this Mini that is so like her.
Nautical track record
2011: first dinghy sailing competitions (1st in the Catagolfe)
2012: launches construction of her Mini
2014: several delivery trips in Mini 6.50, Multi50 and Figaro Bénéteau 2
2015: top-level Espoir athlete (J80)
2016: first Mini 6.50 races
2018: 5th in the French Mini 6.50 Championship