Sep 27, 2011

ESI sponsors in-house engineer David Prono for a transatlantic boat race

ESI Group announces the participation of employee David Prono in the Charente-Maritime/Bahia Transat 6,50 (former Mini Transat), a single-handed race across the Atlantic Ocean on a 6.50 meter sail boat without assistance, departing from La Rochelle on September 25.

Originally from Brittany, 31 years old David has enjoyed sailing with his family since the age of 10. In 2000, he joined his first regatta in La Trinité-sur-mer, Brittany. He joined ESI in 2007 and was based for two years in San Diego, where he had the opportunity to join a local sailing crew and experienced the unique atmosphere, and the numerous challenges, of team sailing. Back in France, David decided to go solo and set himself a new personal challenge by registering for the 2011 ‘Mini’ transatlantic race.

All the best single-handed skippers have taken part in the Charente-Maritime/Bahia Transat 6,50 at least once and it is thus recognized as the one race to begin a career in offshore sailing races. The list of predecessors is impressive: Isabelle Autissier, Ellen MacArthur, Loïck Peyron and Laurent Bourgnon, to name only a few.

This year’s edition of the Charente-Maritime/Bahia Transat 6,50 will depart from the French port of La Rochelle on September 25. After a stopover in the Portuguese Island of Madeira, skippers are expected to spend an average of 4 weeks at sea with little sleep and no communications with the outside world. Boats should reach the finishing line in Bahia, Brazil next month. Of course David’s colleagues from ESI South America eagerly await his arrival.

“We’re very proud of David. Qualifying for this race after only one year of preparation is already an achievement and the commitment of being on the starting line next Sunday. Skippers will have no margin for error; only excellence will do and he will have to get it right. It shows great courage and dedication. All values that ESI shares and promotes. We truly wish him the best for this competition and look forward to celebrating his arrival in Bahia,” declared Alain de Rouvray, Chairman and CEO of ESI Group.

ESI’s interest in off-shore yacht racing extends beyond celebrating the personal involvement of its staff. For example the company is currently working with naval architect Romaric Neyhousser on the composite material properties of skipper Lalou Roucayrol’s new trimaran. This work is being led by David Prono, Composites Marine Domain Expert at ESI. David has worked towards several global virtual prototyping projects in the marine industry, including the Safran Open 60 race yacht project, which was highlighted at the JEC Composites show in Paris last April.

ESI Group will be present at the start of the race in La Rochelle on 25 September, 5pm. David Prono is registered as number 728. His boat is sponsored by ESI with the company’s tagline ‘Get it Right’ as its name. Lalou Roucayrol is David’s godfather for the race.