Coffs boats
23 Feb 22
Pierre Gal, a French expat living on the mid-north coast of Australia, is this year entering the Sydney to Hobart boat race with the help of Thwaites Marine. Gal has been sailing ever since he was a child, and has competed in many international boat races, including the Americas Cup. He has also won several domestic boat races, including the 2019 Sydney to Gold Coast race, where he came first in two categories, and the Brisbane to Gladstone race. And now, with the help of Thwaites Marine, Gal has built his own boat to compete in the Sydney to Hobart yacht race later this year. 
His boat, ‘The Mistral’, is an IRC 34-footer, which Gal says took around 3000 hours of labour to build. The construction is foam sandwich with e-glass, and so the boat is incredibly light. The mould was made with timber battens, and Gal says the most difficult part of the build was the sanding and bogging, which took 4 months alone. The finished product of ‘The Mistral’ is a 34 foot yacht, with good performance both down and upwind due to the fullness of its bow. 
The boat can also reach speeds of up to 10.5 knots, thanks to the Volvo Penta engine installed by the team at Thwaites Marine. Gal first approached them to discuss engine and sail drive options while ‘The Mistral’ was still in the early stages of its build. Ben Thwaites of Thwaites Marine says that they had to find an engine that was light, with quick charging batteries and very little sail drag, and so they decided on the Volvo Penta D1-30 engine. Thwaites says that the main challenge faced when installing the engine was setting the engine/sail drive height as high as possible, without losing drive when motoring. 
‘The Mistral’ is set to race in the 2019 Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, sponsored by Thwaites Marine and Volvo Penta. 

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