Cherbourg. At the age of 17, a genius inventor Natan implements amazing projects

Nathan, left, and his brother Gaétan completed Calypso II, which their father started a few years ago. (©Jean-Paul BARBIER)

Outside that garageEqueurdreville-Hainneville (municipality of Cherbourg-en-Cotentin, Manche), there is no reason to guess that the inside is hidden is the only model from Calypso II “.

This boat is imagined by the captain Jacques-Yves Cousteau Dedicated, personally, to replace Calypso Ioceanography, never saw the light of day due to the death of the sailor. Nevertheless, a reduced version There is this boat, hand-built with salvage and mounted on a custom-made trailer.

Calypso II, driven by Nathan, his brother and father
Nathan installed in Calypso II is kept in the family garage (©Titouan LECHEVALLIER/La Presse de la Manche)

No matter how surprising the builder of this ship may seem, a Cherbourg junior high school student : Nathan Sommer. To whom 17 yearsthe young man follows one of the most traditional educations terminal, at the Thomas-Hélye high school in the heart of Cherbourg-en-Cotentin. But outside of high school, Nathan doesn’t do anything classic: from the summer of 2021, in his spare time family project : Calypso II construction in reduced version.

It started in 1996

It all started inside 1996 time father, Laurent Sommer, then Sea Exchange at Fort-de-France, Martinique, with Captain Jacques-Yves Cousteau, formerly of Calypso and Alcyon, petty officer. The latter explains to Nathan’s father for this Join the Cousteau teamneeded” stand out from the crowd “.

Calypso II, driven by Nathan, his brother and father
Several tests of the ship have already been carried out in the port of Querqueville. (©DR)

Laurent Sommer returns to civilian life, so he embarks on a crazy project ” Build a 1/12 scale model Nathan’s father writes in Cousteau’s Calypso II Journal about the progress of the model construction. The former sailor is based on the fact that the Internet did not exist then photographs and magazine make his project plans.

“Nathan and Gaetan demonstrate what Commander Cousteau said: the impossible is the only thing that succeeds, especially if you put your passion into it! »

Laurent SommerNathan’s father in his children’s Calypso II project

“My father started the project some time ago. More than 25 years, while he was in the Vosges. But he wasn’t exceed the body only ” Nathan says.

Therefore only 2021 project continuation. Nathan, his 14-year-old brother Gaetan and his father sand and paint the hull Laurent Sommer writes that the 1.2-millimeter-thick sheet metal from Lassarat is “very cooperative with the project.” After this first step, Nathan installs two motors set the ship in motion recovered from washing machines “, he explains.

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Calypso II, driven by Nathan, his brother and father
Calypso II was piloted by Nathan and his brother Gaëtan in the shed of the Cherbourg sailing school. (©DR)

Jot’s company is then asked to do the job interior painting of the ship. A high school student puts expanded foam on this painting” ensures unsinkability of the ship,” said Nathan, proud to continue his father’s project.

€2500 budget

Today the ship is ” it’s almost over. “We just want to redo the paint, which is currently gray, but we think it would be better in white,” continues the high school student. It also plans to install radar perfect the likeness between scale models and plans.

Four car batteries are already in place on board drive the carUp to 5 knots (just under 10 kilometers per hour) on the water, with both engines installed at the start.

In total, the price of the boat “ Between 2,500 and 3,000 euros, likes to compare it to my dad, who didn’t smoke a pack a day for over a year,” laughs Nathan. The latter manages with such a budget because “we preferred restoration “says the young man.

Calypso II, driven by Nathan, his brother and father
Calypso II is mounted on a custom trailer designed by Nathan’s father (©DR)

to work christening the replica will be done In the sailing school warehouse during November 2022 Nathan with his family in Cherbourg and Cherbourg naval base chaplainthe boat has already sailed. Final tests for the vessel easily carried its founders, Nathan and Gaëta, to the ports of Chantereyne or Querqueville.

Calypso II is not his only project

Building Calypso II is not Nathan’s only project. In 2018 and 2019, Nathan, still in college at the time, began working in the family garage where he built his own version of the Bugatti Type 35 sports car. The young man went so far as to motorize the car, using washing machine engines like in the Calypso II. After finishing, the car is stored in the family garage for several trips. It is in 2021 that the car leaves the place definitively. “We Calypso We tried to make room for the construction of the II, so we decided to sell the Bugatti Type 35,” explains the high school student. A transaction that will allow us to finance the construction of the Calypso II. According to the latest news, Nathan about his car: ” Everything still works perfectly on it.” Young is also the creator of two robots. “One is for catering and the other is a food processor,” he explains. Robots that have been unique since Nathan patented them in his native China. After building Calypso II, he wants to start building a new ship.He is currently working with his brother and father on the realization of a 4.5 meter ship equipped with 74 guns.
After graduating from high school and completing his bachelor’s degree at the end of this school year, Nathan “wants to move into marine engineering, which would be a scandal if I couldn’t do that after projects like this.” Young also brings up the idea of ​​”working with embassies in foreign relations”. Currently, he has already trained in the Navy in parallel with his high school courses last year.

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