'l’Hydroptère DCNS, Alain Thébault and his crew (Yves Parlier, Jean le Cam, Jacques Vincent, Luc Alphand) during the first series of trials on the Med before trying to beat the Pacific crossing record between Los Angeles and Honolulu next summer. La Ciotat in the Bouches-du-Rhône, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, France.'
Christophe Launay ©
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Hydroptere, Alain Thébault’s 'flying boat', is seeking partners to finance the Transpacific record attempt this summer and the launch in 2015 of a second generation Hydroptere designed to beat the North Atlantic record.
Since its double world absolute sailing speed record in 2009 (taken over by kitesurfers and recently by the Australian Paul Larsen) Hydroptere changed direction to head towards offshore challenges. 'Since 2009 we were the world fastest Formula 1 of the seas but our initial dream with Eric Tabarly was to test the concept offshore. In 2010, we decided to turn the F1 into a 4x4 of the seas to show that it was also possible to fly over the oceans,' said Alain Thébault, skipper and designer of Hydroptere.
After two seasons of exhibitions and training sessions around Europe, the French trimaran joined California for the first oceanic record attempt last July. As there was no favorable weather, the attempt had to be postponed until spring 2013. 'A setback in the schedule that no longer corresponded to the expectations of our title sponsor. They had no market opportunities in the United States. We are therefore looking for new key sponsors' says Emilie Monthioux, operational manager of the program.
At their level, the official partners of Hydroptere i.e. the innovative SMEs Atheos and Clip Industrie have renewed their confidence in the team, as well as the Champagne house Lanson which strengthened their investment on the boat a few weeks ago. Alain Thébault will attend the boat show in Düsseldorf mid-January. This is an ideal opportunity to announce in Germany, the arrival of a possible first key partner in the program with an important technological support for the research and the building of Hydroptere 2.
'In the nautical world and to the general public, Hydroptere remains an unidentified object. Our passion is to try, to experiment, to go where nobody goes. It is not always easy, but when it works, people say thank you. I like a lot the dreamlike dimension. With the record of the Transpacific, we can open a new chapter in the history of sailing: the one where flying boats, that is to say 100% hydrofoil sailboats will cross the oceans. Our 12 month campaign in 2013, with the Transpacific record attempt and the public relations in San Francisco during the America's Cup, represent a total budget of 2.7 million Euros, half of which in investment. Ideally we would like to gather several key partners, attracted by the same pioneer spirit and for which the American/Asian regions would constitute a field of strategic communication,' explains Alain Thébault.
Hydroptere is currently moored in San Francisco. It will spend the Christmas season in the bay until a first round of funding is gathered to start its winter checking. See you in Düsseldorf mid-January and in California next spring.
by Thomas Lesage
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9:50 PM Fri 7 Dec 2012GMT
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