Ouest France 08/1993 ~ Bernard Moulin tries out this new method of propulsion

The kayak pulled by a kite

Yesterday, in the port of Rosmeur, a strange craft was observed. The men with their fishing rods looked disbelievingly at the kayak being pulled by a flying wing. The method will be inaugurated during the Gauloises raid…

This was a few years ago, during the windsurf world championship at La Torche. Pulled by a kite a strange fellow surged out from the open sea on water skis. He continued his way on the beach. And then, he disappeared behind a dune. First trials that would make Jean-Marie Le Bris proud !

Since then, the company “WipiCat” from Quimper has been commercialising these inflatable crafts whose mode of propulsion is a flying wing. But soon after the appearance in La Torche, Bernard Moulin had the idea of adapting the method for a sea kayak. “It decreases the fatigue of the oarsmen, and allows them to discover the coast better. At a force of 4 or 5 Beaufort, it’s real fast !

Last May, he took a course in hang-gliding. In June, he settled his company and added the new discipline to the catalogue. “The interest in cata-kayak, is that the spinnaker is attached to two levers by 5m long lines. The spinnaker’s leading edge is inflatable. If it falls into the water, we can easily re-launch it”
Direction Madagascar

The process will be inaugurated in Madagascar during the next Gauloises raid. “A yearly competition that’s held in a different country every time and reunites different non mechanised activities. From camels to rock climbing to river rafting…” From competitors like the actor Bernard Giraudeau or the skipper Philippe Jeantot will be trying their luck. Some are here to win and some are here as amateurs, sometimes as a result of a bet on New Year’s. In any case it’s an engagement of a minimum investment of 200 000 F per team. And it’s not without risk. “Last year, during the events featuring the kayaks a lot of difficulties were encountered.”

So, this year, tests have to be undergone beforehand. And Bernard Moulin has been engaged to do so in the company of Philippe Le Poul, technical regional counsellor. Among the 45 contesting teams, sixteen have already been inscribed to undergo the tests at Douarnenez till October. And maybe even train a little. Bernard will also be going to La Rochelle or Toulon to measure the capacity of the candidates. He will be going to Madagascar finally between the 22nd November and the 10th December. A reward for his work.