The experimental catamaran l’Hydroptère.ch, crewed by Daniel Schmaeh, Stéphane Dyen, Gaël Ledoux, Guillaume Coyon and Cédric Pochelon, have gone after the mythical Blue Ribbon speed record between Geneva and le Bouveret and back, a record held since 2007 by Décision 35, captained by Philippe Cardis, in 4 hrs 53 mins 19 secs.
l’Hydroptère.ch takes on Blue Ribbon speed record
After having left at 10.30 a.m., propelled by a strong westerly wind, the hydrofoil catamaran made exceptional time en route to Le Bouveret, reaching Yvoire in less than half an hour and then Le Bouveret in one hour 44 minutes – the absolute speed record on this course aboard a yacht.
The return trip proved more challenging, sailing into the wind blowing from the west, which prevented the team from performing numerous maneuvers. l’Hydroptère.ch finally crossed the line after five hrs 17 mins 42 secs – a remarkable time which not only ranks as the best performance of the year, but also as the record for a yacht, the previous best time being five hrs 35 mins.
'Our outbound journey was extraordinary,' enthused Daniel Schmaeh, skipper of l’Hydroptère.ch. But conditions proved particularly unfavorable on the return trip. We were expecting the Joran on this small lake; instead, we were hit by a westerly wind which prevented us from performing numerous tacking maneuvers. That is what cost us the record.'
Record attempts are normally made in northerly winds, and the l’Hydroptère.ch team knew very well when they left this morning that conditions were not perfect. 'For us, it was above all a good opportunity to acquaint ourselves with the course and to work on our maneuvers,' explained project head Jérémie Lagarrigue, who followed the attempt from a distance.
'We knew that the record would be very difficult to beat, which gives us even greater satisfaction that we came so close. We will of course continue with our attempts and try to prove that boats equipped with hydrofoils are superior to other vessels. Indeed, the goal of Hydros is not simply to beat records: it is to prove that efficient use of technology can reduce energy consumption and thus improve energy output, be this in relation to a race yacht or an industrial application.'