Raphael Censier: Teenager building the Class Future

Raphael wanted to have his own Cat and he chose the A-Cat for his home built. If a Class can encourage young kids to build their own boats, it is on the right path.
Raphael built his custom Carbon A-Cat and now he is trying to make it Fly within the rules.
We made an interview for him to tell about his building experience and his future projects.
He was inspired by others and now he will be an inspiration for many to join the class with their own home builts.
Check the clever symmetric building method, that allows to use only one half of a mould to layup deck and bottom.

More images & videos at http://raphael-censier.jimdo.com
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- I've seen you are a prolific designer/builder of water crafts, when did you start getting interested in building and why?

Raphael Censier: When I was 6 years old I fix my carbon Windsurf boards. Afterwards I started looking for a construction project for my Lycee years (14 to 17) and I also wanted to have my own catamaran. I started to build my first kayak at age 14 when I was in second year.
At first I thought to update a Nacra 5.7 but I finally chose to built an A-Cat. With its building process freedom and alternatives, an A is the best suited boat to home build.

- How old are you and what are you studying?
RC: Now I'm 19 and in second year of scientific preparatory class. I stop building until summer holiday to take my exams.

- Which projects you have finished and which are you working on right now?
RC: All my constructions were to progress in my project to build an A-Cat. I started to build a kayak out of carbon-kevlar to learn use how to manage composites.

I had some problems with the vacuum at first but the kayak was finally a success. I presented it during an event to raise funds for Cystic Fibrosis research. In that event a Hovercraft racer proposed me to build him his hovercraft for his 2010 to 2012 season.

That was a good opportunity to finance a large part of my A-Class building. Alain Larribe finish 2nd in the Hovercraft world championship 2010 and he won the European Championship in 2011.

I built all composites parts exactly in same way as my kayak. Mold comes from IUT (University Institutes of Technology).

Then I built a second kayak, this time out of carbon to test the number of carbon layers that I need for the A. Finally, I completely changed the method of construction after going to the Paris JEC show, I decided to make my catamaran in monolithic with a solid internal structure.

Then I built a second A-cat just after finishing mine for Remy David, who founded X-Voile, in exchange he allowed me to get my sail mast and my trampoline.

- Your AClass carbon hull has a clever symmetric build method, tell us about it
RC: There are two ways to obtain a rigid hull. With a thick sandwich construction, or monolithic layup with an internal structure such Mirabaud LX.
I chose the second option for several reasons: http://raphael-censier.jimdo.com/catamaran-classe-a/4-choix-du-monolithi...

I use the symmetrical build method to build a single mold. It is also a good wave piercing solution. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6sjyVCbWkQs

- Are you racing with it? How its doing against other prod boats?
RC: I have not race that much, just two regattas: First regatta corresponded with the first navigation of my boat and second regattta when I receive my new mast and new sail.
Currently I have no problem in broad reach but I still have some difficulties when close hauled

- I've Seen some flying pics of your A, are you flying within the rules box?
RC: Yes I respect the A-cat rules, the target is to fly in broad reach and not be penalized in close hauled

At first I didn't planned to fly. A year ago I built my curved board, at the beginning it was longer (without following A-cat rules) and I 'jumped' regularly. Then I cut my foil and put it within the rules. I'm with this configuration for a year now, but last week I managed to 'jump' better.
This is probably also on my positioning on the boat and the way I helm. This way of helming is also new and hard to fine tune for the Nacra 17 crews.

- Which conf are you using ? Rudder winglets included?
RC: My port foil is a home build and starboard is a DNA. I have nothing extra on rudders.
It's really unstable because I fly just on one foil. Nothing on rudder and the starboard foil is too undersized. I am actually in similar configuration as Nacra 17.

When I'll finish my exams I will build 4 new foils. Two daggerboards like my current port foil and L foil for rudder like A-class Paradox. I built my foil with a traditional building monolithic plus vacuum.

- Tell me more about the feeling of being in the air...
RC: When the boat flies, you are totally excited. I know I can’t fly just on one good foil so I search for a solution to stabilize it. You can see in this video, how it accelerates and how much I'm working.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=hlUYvJlmM-c

I also feel new sensations and ways to manage control with my foots.
I flew three times until now. My three lastest sails. But they were my first flights without enough wind speed. I hope find out why I loose lift, but the Martin Fischer's L rudder (Note: Mayfly, GC32, Paradox) solution will create a smoother flight.

- Future projects?
RC: I'll try to stabilize my flying A-cat, then I would like to race trying to prove the effeciency of flying while racing. In the future, I would like do same the as I do now but with more racing time and R&D. So I'm going to study Engineering for 3 years and next maybe going for the Architect institute of Southampton to learn English and Hydrodynamics.
But I love built, so I hope I will be able to balance work, build, and racing time, as I want to do the three of them.
----ENDS---
More images, videos at http://raphael-censier.jimdo.com