It’s not a common subject on this blog; sailing boat design. But as a sailor I just couldn’t resist telling you about this. And it’s a design that goes far beyond the average.
You don’t just design the fastest sailing boat over night. It’s a long process and the idea was borne in 1975, but it took ’til 1994 for it to materialize. So it took a while, but it’s here and they did it. Sometimes you really need to think out of the box to break records, to not only think ‘floating’, but also think ‘flying’. Sure, they’re not the first to use this flying technique, but they surely made the fastest sailing boat with it. l’Hydroptère, the “flying boat”, is the fastest sailing boat in the world. It broke the world speed record by sailing 55.5 knots (103 km/h) and an average speed of 51.36 knots over 500 meters and 48.72 knots over one nautical mile on September 4th. The next goal is to break the trans Atlantic record next year.
l’Hydroptère is a trimaran with foils. These underwater wings extract the boat’s hulls from the water when a certain speed is reached, which considerably reduces the ship’s hydrodynamic drag. A whole team of engineers and sailors worked on the project over the years with Alain Thébault as head designer. He also skippered the boat.
Check for all the details the l’Hydroptère website (they designed the fastest sailing boat, but unfortunately probably the slowest web site, it takes ages to load ;-)
Source: Zilt magazine and l’Hydroptère