sail-world.com -- Hydroptere team takes advantage of winter season
Hydroptere team takes advantage of winter season
Sat, 19 Jan 2013
Following an eventful year and a first summer spent in the USA, the Hydroptere team of Alain Thébault is taking advantage of the winter season to fine-tune their technological and sports program. The partner search continues.
In 2012, the winter was quickly over. Just sponsored by a French group, Hydroptere aimed to break the Transpacific Record between Los Angeles and Hawaii. The new geographical parameters required an upgrade of the 'F1 of the seas' to a '4x4 of the oceans.'
At La Ciotat, in the south of France, the technical team worked seven days a week at the metamorphosis of the boat. The carbon bird left France in late May. 'These were some of the most intense and rewarding winter works that I knew,' said Warren Fitzgerald, the Boat Captain.
Hydroptere started sailing in Los Angeles in mid-July. Unfortunately the weather was not appropriate; the only favorable weather windows were already finished. The team trained for a month in southern California and then went to San Francisco to greet the America's Cup World Series sailboats.
Hydroptere encountered up to three meter high waves and thirty knots of wind at 'Point Conception', the difficult part of the California coast. In the cold and the tumult of the Pacific Ocean, the flying trimaran went from the desert climate of Los Angeles to San Francisco fog. Apart from the wind angles, it gave the sailors a good foretaste of what they could expect on their way to Hawaii. The Golden Gate Bridge was passed at night, under the sound of foghorns. 'Wonderful memories. We were really exhausted, and despite the cold, we were all on the deck to contemplate the pillars of this red metal giant' recalls Jacques Vincent, co-skipper.
In San Francisco, the autumn was there but still no appropriate weather window to Hawaii appeared. The hope for a record attempt this season disappeared. Never mind, Hydroptere sailed in the bay and shared its technology with the American public. Some stars of the Silicon Valley and of the America's Cup went on board and the team of Alain Thébault took the opportunity to establish a small local record of 37.5 knots of average speed over one nautical mile. 'Just a wink to the competitors; we hope that this record will be broken and that we will be able to come back and defend it next autumn,' jokes Alain Thébault, skipper and designer of Hydroptere.
In early November, the title partner of the team for three years announced his early withdrawal. The postponement of the record attempt disrupted the schedule and no longer corresponded to its objectives. Before Christmas holidays, Hydroptere was sheltered in the bay of San Francisco and the search for new partners began.
The team of Hydroptere is currently working on a development program over five years with a double clear objective: offshore racing and pure speed.
In the short term, Hydroptere has to gather as much experience as possible in the Pacific and aims to demonstrate that sailboats can fly offshore. The Transpacific record attempt is still scheduled for the coming summer and this will be followed by a public relations campaign to introduce the trimaran to the public. 'It's amazing how this boat continues to make people dream; this technology still fascinates a lot. Hydroptere is the only boat able to sail offshore and to take guests to nearly 50 knot' says Yves Parlier.
In the medium term, the team wants to start building a prototype of pure speed, inspired by the recent works of Vestas Sailrocket. 'The supersonic sailing barrier was crossed thanks to Paul Larsen. Now the target has to be an average of 80 knots' explains Alain Thébault.
In the longer term, finally, Hydroptere 2, a trimaran that will be a synthesis of Hydroptere performance and of those of the best conventional maxi-multihulls, will aim to cross the Atlantic in three days and to exceed the legendary barrier of the thousand nautical miles in 24 hours.
'We have considerable experience in the field of foils and high speed. With these three challenges, we have enough to fill an ambitious program over five years. Technology and pioneer spirit will always be the core of the project. We take advantage of the winter to gather skills, to get various sources of advice and we are working diligently to develop a global roadmap. The objective is to get a first series of support before spring to consolidate the process,' says Alain Thébault.
Alain Thébault will be present at the Düsseldorf boat show (BOOT) on Sunday 20th and Monday 21st January, and he will talk during two conferences about the future of multihulls and the new challenges of high-speed sailing.
Burke Marine, suppliers of international quality marine clothing and equipment, was founded by Martin Burke on the shores of Sydney Harbour in 1971. Visit our website for your nearest stockist. [More info]
Ensign Ship Brokers
Ensign Ship Brokers was established in 1980 and has spent the last 28 years expanding our marine knowledge and developing our reputation! We strive to provide the very best service! [More info]
GME Standard Communications Pty Ltd
Leaders in communications and navigation. Their goal has always been to make products whose innovation, convenience and peace of mind can help improve the lives of their customers. [More info]
Hamilton Island Luxury Accommodation
Full range of private apartments, villas and houses on Hamilton Island. 1, 2, 3, 4, and 6 bedroom options available. All include buggy and island airport or marina transfers. [More info]
Multihull Solutions is Australia and New Zealand’s premier offshore and cruising catamaran and trimaran specialist, offering sales and servicing of the world’s finest multihull brands.
Navionics is proud of its superb cartographic database comprising more than 25,000 charts and port plans; the largest privately owned database of its kind, the only one using full seamless technology [More info]
OziOpti is all about 'getting kids in boats' and the Australian company supporting the introduction to of the world’s most popular junior sailing yacht, the 'International Optimist Dinghy' [More info]
Performance Sailcraft Australia (Asia Pacific)
Laser builder Performance Sailcraft Australia has taken on the successful RS Sailboat range from Britain, and is now licensed to build and distribute all of the RS range in the Asia Pacific region. [More info]
Sealink Magnetic Island Race Week
Entries for the fourth annual Sealink Magnetic Island Race Week have opened! 4 days of racing, 5 days of fun – that is what you can look forward to from 3-7 September at Magnetic Island. [More info]
Vicsail Sydney Pty Ltd, launched into the Australian sailing fraternity in 1983 and has been sailing strong ever since. At Vicsail, “We Sail the Boats We Sell”. [More info]