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Hydroptere

The Hydroptère is an experimental sailing hydrofoil designed by French yachtsman Alain


Thébault. Her multihull hydrofoil design allows the sail-powered vessel to reach high speeds
on water. The design is based on experience from a range of hydrofoil sailcraft that Thébault
built in cooperation with the late Éric Tabarly since the 1990s.

• On October 5, 2008 she reached a record speed of 52.86


knots (97.90 km/h; 60.83 mph), however this was over a shorter
distance than the 500m necessary to qualify for an official world
record.
• On December 21, 2008, the Hydroptère briefly reached
56.3 knots (104.3 km/h; 64.8 mph) near Fos-sur-Mer, but
capsized shortly thereafter.
• On September 4, 2009, the Hydroptère broke the outright
world record, sustaining a speed of 52.86 knots (97.90 km/h;
60.83 mph) for 500m in 30 knots of wind.
• In November 2009, she broke the 50 knot barrier for a
nautical mile with a speed of 50.17 knots (92.91 km/h; 57.73
mph) in Hyères, France.

Holy l'Hydroptere! Sailing Over 60 knots


then Turtled
Boating and Sailing News 21 Dec 2008

Southern France - Though sailing at 50 knots average speed over 500 meters remains
elusive to boats, even bursts of raw speed much over 50 knots are new and rare - be
they on a kite-board or a boat. So it seemed the team from l'Hydroptere was getting an
early Christmas gift this year, as the giant trimaran lifted off today, and hit a momentary
speed of 61 knots - phenomenal! Unfortunately, the same conditions that led to the
speed also led to a capsize, leaving l'Hydroptere stuck upside down.
The powerful squall that brought l'Hydroptere to this speed generated winds of 35-38
knots and gusts to 45 off Napoleon Beach at Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhone, and in these
conditions, the boat kept accelerating. Fifty, then fifty-five, and finally 61 knots were
reached, and then suddenly the giant trimaran flipped. Turtled (upside down and unable
to right itself), there was nothing the crew could do but grin and wait for l'Hydroptere to
be towed in.
Alain Thebault and crew are now bringing the massive boat in to Fos sur Mer, where it
can be returned to its proper "mast-points-up" orientation, and readied for another go.
Some of the crew members suffered minor injuries in the capsize, but were too busy
cheering the peak speed to complain. It looks like their theory is true, this is the fastest
sailboat in the world, and they can't wait to get back on the water to break SailRocket's
new record, and make it official (over 500 meters). Interestingly, SailRocket's 52 knot
top burst speed also resulted in an incredible wipeout... Talk about riding the edge!

L'Hydroptere and DCNS


Tuesday March 6th 2012, Author: James Boyd, Location: France

Over the winter there has been a split between Alain Thébault's speed record breaking
L'Hydroptère campaign and the team in Switzerland, Hydroptere Suisse SA, which is
developing the 35ft foiling catamaran, L'Hydroptère.ch.

While the latter (below) is back in the shed undergoing modifications in Switzerland, so
Alain Thébault's campaign has now teamed up with DCNS, the French naval defence and
energy company, which for the last years has backed Marc Thiercelin's IMOCA 60
campaign.

In 2008 DCNS launched their Les Filières du Talent DCNS (DCNS develops talent)
program, the first winner of which was French Figaro sailor Christopher Pratt, who sailed
the company's IMOCA 60 in the 2010 Route du Rhum.

This year DCNS has extended its Les Filières du Talent initiative in conjunction with Alain
Thébault, with the famous 60ft foiler tri being renamed and rebranded, l’Hydroptère
DCNS. Thébault's main objective for 2012 is to make an attempt on the Transpac record
from Los Angeles to Honolulu - vaguely following in the footsteps of Thébault's friend
and mentor Eric Tabarly, who set a Transpac record, only from San Francisco to Tokyo in
1969 on board his 35ft water ballasted Pen Duick V and also raced in the Los Angeles to
Tahiti Transpac races in 1970 and 1972, winning the latter.
At present l’Hydroptère DCNS is undergoing a refit in La Ciotat in the south of France.
This will include some modification work to improve the tri-foiler's performance and
handling in the Pacific. Her steering is being upgraded to make it more responsive in the
downwind surfing conditions, while a new giant bowsprit is being added - 4.5m in length
- to allow a larger genniker to be flown. The boat will also be on a diet with part of the
rudder mechanism that was in aluminium being replaced in carbon and the generator to
be swapped for a smaller alternative. The structure of the boat is also being beefed up to
accept the new modified and enlarged sail plan.

The refit is due to be completed in May after which the schedule is for four weeks of
testing in the Med before the trimaran heads for California.