Listen to our Cogitons Sciences podcast: Clement Tivin, Boat Engineer [Des ingénieurs qui cassent la routine #3]

Welcome to the 12th edition of Cogitons Sciences, the podcast that deciphers the problems of science! We met Clément Thievin, a mechanical and systems engineer whose passion for sailing led him to join a marine racing team.

How to go from power steering for cars to high-tech sailboats? Can an engineer do his job out of his passion? How does a blank page become a boat capable of circumnavigating the world? What can a design engineer give skippers?

To answer us, we welcome Clement Thievin, Mechanical and Systems Design Engineer at the MerConcept design office, an offshore racing team created by sailor François Gabard in 2006.

Listen to the episode here.

From interest to passion [1 :30] – [7:51]

During Clement Thivin’s engineering course at INSA Lyon, his teachers encouraged him to follow the lead of his former student François Gabard, who took part in the Vendée Globe Challenge at the end of 2012. In the media, Clément Thievin learned about the project “Construction of a racing trimaran to break the solo world record” from MerConcept. It is on this project that he will work during his internship in 2014.

It is at JTEKT Technology that Clement Tivin realizes that he is passionate about sailing and that is where he wants to work. His applications were not accepted. Then, joining the Chantiers de l’Atlantique, he moved closer to the ocean and gained experience in the naval sector. Next, “In the specialized media, I saw an offer from MerConcept.” She fits her profile well. He applies. He’s recruited.

Design a competitive boat [8 :09] – [17 :10]

Therefore, it is in 2019 that Clement Tivin returns to MerConcept. First he will work on Imoca 11th Hour Racing. He explains the difference in design between this Imoca designed for crew and “Imoca Apivia, Captain Charlie Dahlin”.

Clément Thievin compares the acquisition of maritime vocabulary upon arrival. “in a new country”. “The design engineer must produce parts, systems” for the boat. Clement Thievin illustrates his busyness: “In August 2019, the boat was a clean slate. In the summer of 2021, he sailed. In November he crossed the Atlantic.”. These boats are for “to participate in races and, if possible, win them”. The design engineer needs “good level of certainty and doubt” for “make vital decisions for the operation of the boat”.

Listening to the skippers [17 :30] – [28 :33]

“We make the boat so the skippers can make the most of it while racing. They have to be very involved in the design of the boat and the systems philosophy.” explains Clement Tivin. in “feedback is immediate at all stages of design”. “Able to spend three months at sea alone on their boat, they have a lot to say. »Clement Tivin adds. “Boat racing brightens our days. Display is the only access to performance. Points allow you to know the position of the boats ».

Listen to the episode here.

Quoted links:


OceanRace is a race that Imoca will take part in at 11am.

hour races

Chantiers de l’Atlantique in Saint Nazaire

JTEKT Technology


Aalto University in Helsinki, Finland

Resources for further development:

Media specializing in Tip & Shaft sailing competitions.

Sailorz Documentary Film Festival

The Long Road book by Bernard Moitessier.

“The Virgin”, a documentary about British skipper Tracey Edwards.

Off Shore Marine Adventure Film Festival

Cogitons Sciences is a podcast created by Techniques de l’Ingénieur. This episode was directed by Marie-Caroline Lorike in collaboration with Intissar El Hadj Mohamed. The credits were directed by Pierre Ginon and the podcast was visually designed by Camille Van Belle.

(Photo portrait of Clement Tivin: MerConcept)

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