Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Hydroptere Record - 04 Sep 2009

France - With peak speeds reaching an amazing 55.7 knots, l’Hydroptère has shattered the world speed sailing record with an average speed of 51.36 knots over 500 meters. This not only trounces the Macquarie Innovation speed of 50.07 kts (the fastest boat), but in the ongoing battle between big and small, the giant hydrofoil has become the fastest watercraft under sail, besting the 50.57 kts recorded by Alexandre Caizergues on his kite-board last year. With record-making season just beginning, the bar has been set high by the mighty Hydroptère and her crew. Amazingly, they only needed a westerly wind of 28 kts for the records.

l’Hydroptère is a trimaran that rides on hydrofoils, reducing the drag on the vessel and allowing it to reach amazing speeds. However, the outright speed sailing record, while theoretically possible in the giant craft, had eluded the team. Last December, a burst in speed of over 60 knots flipped the giant multihull, and many wondered whether the craft would be capable of the sustained speed needed to break the record. Wonder no more! Paraphrasing Yoda from Star Wars, an elated Alain Thebault said with a wink: "'There is no try ... It's do or do not!'. Today, we did it!"

Not only did the Hydroptère team beat the 500m record, but the mile record as well, and they are already making big plans for next year, as they intend to start testing a design that is intended to go after the non-stop around the world record (the Jules Verne Trophy). If all goes well, there will be a hydrofoil rocketing along Lake Geneva next spring, and with Groupama 3 and Banque Populaire V both scheduled for Jules Verne Trophy attempts this winter, there will likely be quite a high benchmark set by the time the new l’Hydroptère Maxi hits salt water.

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