[Source: Hydroptère] The Hydroptère project is not limited to the performance of the 60-feet trimaran which has beaten two world speed records at an average speed of over 50 knots in 2009 in the Mediterranean. Alain Thébault and his team decided to extend the limits of the project and planned to develop two new boats, with the ultimate objective of sailing around the world in approximately 40 days on l’Hydroptère maxi.
To reach this objective, the team with the help of retired engineers and of their scientific adviser, The Swiss Technological Institute in Lausanne, decided to follow the same experimental process as that employed by Alain Thébault in the development of l’Hydroptère and to consider an intermediate step, that being to build on a reduced scale a test model i.e. l’Hydroptère.ch.
l’Hydroptère.ch will serve as a lab boat whose main purpose is to test geometries and behaviours in varied real conditions for the development of l’Hydroptère maxi.
As a Swiss-French project l’Hydroptère.ch is being built in two shipyards, one in Brittany and one in Switzerland. The shipyard Décision SA, located in Ecublens close to Lausanne, is in charge of the central structural peak and of the floaters’ building for the 35-feet boat. The different constitutive parts of the central structural peak have been draped and cured and are now ready for the assembling process. The central structural peak will constitute the boat’s central hull which will not touch the water.
The floaters are now in their molding process. They will be cured next week. All this process will guarantee l’Hydroptère.ch’s optimal solidity.
The shipyard B&B based in La Trinité sur Mer has already manufactured the cross beams of the flying catamaran and has just finished the centreboard. With this centreboard, the boat will be able to sail with the foils out of the water when wind conditions do not allow a take-off. The shipyard’s employees are now working on the boat’s rudders and foils.
l’Hydroptère.ch will indeed be an authentic floating lab equipped with clever mechanical systems enabling many adjustments whilst sailing and with lots of sensors enabling many measurements.
The analysis of all these measurements will eventually enable the validation of architectural choices which will be the base of l’Hydroptrère maxi’s design, a boat capable of vanquishing oceanic records and of sailing safely around the world.
This objective of sailing around the world implied the development of a versatile platform. During a circumnavigation weather conditions can vary enormously and history has shown that on this route, speed records are very often achieved or lost in the zones that habitually experience lighter winds.
Thus the design of l’Hydroptère.ch was focused on the desire to maintain and optimize the equipment related to the boat’s speed and behaviour “in flight” whilst developing points such as versatility and navigation in light winds.
The objective then was to design a platform that could be efficient in her Archimedean version i.e. when conditions are not favourable for the boat to “take off” whilst maintaining a strong flight potential to demonstrate the difference with competitors whenever weather conditions permit and thus circumnavigate in 40 days. She should be launched beginning of summer 2010.
From concept to the world’s fastest yacht. Video copyright l’Hydroptère