61 Knots (!) FLIP (!)

Sunday screaming Sunday — It was only a burst, so kitesailor Alexandre Caizergues’s official 500-meter speedsailing record is safe for now at 50.57 knots, but the big French trimaran, l’Hydroptre hit a speed peak of 61 knots in the Med on Sunday morning, and there is no way that’s anything but fast under sail. It’s a first.

You had to read four paragraphs down in the triumphant press release to discover that, at that point, l’Hydroptre flipped.

People can get hurt capsizing at 61 knots (never tried it myself) but there were no serious injuries among Alain Thbault and his crew.

The team describes wind conditions off Napolon beach at Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhne as 35-38 knots established, gusting to 45, which is what took the boat over.

The boat will be righted, and a delegation of the World Speed Sailing Record Council will be back on the scene to record events should l’Hydroptre, after a time in drydock, succeed in sustaining record speeds over the measured 500-meter course.

You can see l’Hydroptre bottom-side-up at the web site of photographer Gilles Martin-Raget.

Posted December 21, 2008 by Kimball Livingston

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