Guip Shipyard preparing to celebrate historic vessels at Brest 2016.
Guip Shipyard will be celebrating ships listed on France’s register of historic vessels during Brest 2016, Brittany’s forthcoming festival of the sea. It’s Guip’s way of paying tribute to the Sailing Trusts and the Regional Departments for Culture (DRAC) which for the last three decades have endeavoured to save and preserve traditional craft on the same footing as heritage buildings and sites. Since 1982 a total of 140 boats have been rescued and 117 now appear on France’s register of historic vessels. Over twenty of them will sail to Brest in July for the festival.
Twenty historic vessels in Dock No. 1.
Throughout festival in the Port of Brest numerous historic craft will be tying up in Dock No. 1 alongside Guip Shipyard, such as the coasters Notre-Dame de Rumengol, L’Audiernais and Fée de l’Aulne, the Brest scallop boats Bergère de Domrémy, Général Leclerc and Saint-Guénolé, and the pilot cutter Marie-Fernand. Guip’s shipwrights know the ships well because many of them have benefited from their expertise.
‘At the end of the day, the boats in Dock No. 1 should reflect the wide range of historic vessels included on the register. They should represent every purpose, size or age for theirs is a long and varied history,’ says Guip boss Yann Mauffret.
Guip Shipyard will be opening to the public during Brest 2016 and in particular the workshop where the public can enjoy an exhibition on the restoration of several ships, such as the classic all-weather lifeboat Patron François Morin. This lively presentation of the shipyard’s work uses photos, videos and technical information to explain the often complex operation of restoring a traditional boat. Aviso schooner La Recouvrance also features in the exhibition, in particular the story of her construction at the yard.
Several boats awaiting restoration will be displayed on the quay in front of the yard, with representatives of the sailing trust responsible for them in attendance. Among them two boats which were built in very different locations and for very different purposes but, by coincidence, launched in the very same year: 1950. The first of these is the Tarzan, a magnificent settee schooner (similar to a lateen rig) built in Sfax, Tunisia, for the sponge-fishing trade. The other, Fleur de mai, came from the Jacq Shipyard of L’Hôpital-Camfrout, Brittany, and was a coaster designed for carrying sand. Both are going to be restored by Guip.
Another event hosted at the yard will be a series of discussions on the future of heritage craft featuring representatives from Regional Departments for Culture, France’s Commission for Historic Buildings and Monuments, associations of historic-vessel owners, and local sailing trusts such as An Test, Lenn Vor, and Mab Ar Vor.
Ouest-France and Chasse-Marée special edition and pavilion
Regional newspaper Ouest-France and the maritime heritage magazine Chasse-Marée are publishing for the festival a special 96-page edition devoted entirely to historic vessels. On site will be a special pavilion and a panel displaying technical and historical information on each listed vessel.
A highlight of the festival will undoubtedly be the grand parade of these historic craft which marks the opening of Brest 2016 on 13 July.
Two relaunches on the programme
Two boats restored by Guip Shipyard will be relaunched during Brest 2016, in keeping with festival tradition.
L’Audiernais is going back in the water on 13 July. Built in Audierne and launched in 1936, this coaster carried cargo for years, in particular for the Isle of Sein. Next, she spent time fishing spiny lobster before returning to the sand-carrying trade along the coast of Northern Brittany. Her final job before retirement involved carrying passengers around La Rochelle. She entered the list of historic vessels in 1988.
The completely rebuilt Patron François Morin will get her turn the following day, 14 July. Built in 1959 by the Lemaistre Shipyard of Fécamp, Normandy, this all-weather lifeboat entered service the following year at the SNSM station on Ushant. Over the next 35 years she carried out 198 rescues and 250 medical evacuations. She was listed on France’s register of historic ships in 2010.
On the stocks
Guip Shipyard is always bustling and that means other boats are being prepared for the festival. Two ships belonging to Marine nationale, France’s military navy, are almost at the end of their restorations and will go back in the water in late May.
PM1, the maritime prefect’s launch, has a new transom, new deck beams in the stern and a new deck throughout. Her hull to deck joints have been restored and her paintwork has been smoothed overall.
The yawl Grande Hermine has had her ballast to keel joint restored and floors in some parts of the bilge have been replaced. She also gets a brand new interior throughout.
Quiet please… Filming in progress for Brest 2016!
Earlier this year Guip Shipyard welcomed a film crew into the workshop to shoot some key sequences for a short called Le Large (The Open Sea). The film was being made by a group of 14 to 17-year-olds who are involved in local youth scheme ZAP’H. In all twenty-seven Brest teenagers have been giving up their free time to organize major cultural projects with a view to gaining work experience.
Members of the group, with a little help from co-directors Simone Pensivy and Fabien Migliore, channelled their love of music, movies, drawing and communications into the screenplay and even rewrote part of it to include Guip Shipyard.
‘It was very impressive, all these tools, all these stripped-down boats. An exceptional location for filming thanks to the magnificent light shining through the skylights which catches the wood dust, making it a vector,’ recalls Fabien Migliore. ‘The shipwrights were very welcoming and we felt like we belonged in the workshop despite there being twenty of us! They gave us precious advice so we could reproduce as closely as possible their way of working. It was a unique experience. I hope the people of Brest will now be even prouder of their shipyard, a veritable institution. Guip plays a central role in our film because it’s where the two leading characters meet. It’s the story of the friendship between an old seaman and a twenty-year-old who has just arrived in Brest and knows nothing about the sea. Really, we can’t wait to show the finished film during the festival of the sea Brest 2016.’