France’s Maxi-tri Ultime class

Author:
Publish date:
Updated on
 If you look hard, you can just make out the tiny crew!   

 If you look hard, you can just make out the tiny crew!   

It’s hard to believe how far foiling has come since the Moth class figured out how to reliably take to the air in the early 2000s.

Was it really only in 2013 that the America’s Cup was dragged kicking and screaming into the foiling world by Emirates Team New Zealand back in San Francisco? Incredible as it may seem, full-foiling has already become somewhat routine, with Moths, GD32s and even foiling kiteboards now regularly skimming across the likes of San Diego and Narragansett bays. Heck, even yours truly has now gone foiling, on a beach cat no less.

Still, there’s nothing routine about the current cutting edge of full-foiling performance—aboard France’s maxi-tri Ultime class, as part of the proposed Brest Ultime Challenge solo race around the world, set to kick off in the fall of 2019.

Back in 2016, SAIL magazine covered the fact that full-foiling performance was part of the design brief. And now said foiling has come to pass, with last year’s launch of Team Gitana’s 104ft maxi-tri Edmond de Rothschild/Gitana 17 for skipper Sébastien Josse. Not only that but it actually works, the boat having taken to the air shortly after launch.

02 Maxi Josse forms copy

Josse has claimed that he only sees full-foiling performance serving a tactical role in terms of his race plans. However, anyone who thinks any self-respecting French sailor is going to take his foot off the accelerator when he’s screaming along at 50-plus knots, don’t know much about the French.

Of course, there are dreams, and then there’s the matter of making it all work. In the boat’s debut at last year’s Transat Jacques Vabre the boat finished second to an older Sodebo Ultim’ maxi-tri after experiencing technical issues with one of its daggerboards.

However, the boat is currently back in a dedicated shed in France, and you can be sure its builders, designers and crew are all not only busily correcting whatever weaknesses may have cropped up during its first Atlantic crossing, but making it faster and stronger than ever.

03-m3114_18-08-2017-riou-gitana-00052

Next up for Josse and his new mega-ride is the 2018 Route du Rhum, which starts in November and takes the fleet from France across to Guadeloupe. It’ll be interesting to see how the boat does the second time across the Pond. Good luck to Josse and company. Whatever happens, it’s sure to be one heck of an adventure! For the latest on the project, visit gitana-team.com

MHS Summer 2018

Related

Meridian-X-Spin_2

MOB: A Whistle in the Wind

Mark Wheeler went overboard a few minutes before midnight. He was in the middle of Lake Michigan, 30 miles offshore in 40 knots of wind. As he fumbled for the lanyard to inflate his lifejacket he watched his racing sailboat, Meridian X, disappear into the night at more than 18 ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com Slapper stopper  When I came on deck at 0800 to hoist my colors on a visitors’ mooring recently, there was an awkward slop running in. This doesn’t trouble my Mason 44, which has a traditional counter ...read more

Tilly-1

Gear: Tilley Polaris Hat

A True Blue Tilley Sailing is all about fun in the sun, but it sometimes doesn’t take long to get too much of a good thing, especially when on a prolonged cruise or offshore passage. Enter the Tilley Polaris, the latest lid developed by iconic Canadian hat-maker Tilley. ...read more

Sand-TOWEL_MODEL-3

CGear Sand-Free Beach Towel

Sand Be Gone! The summer is hot and full of terrors—not the least of which is the sand that sticks in your beach towel in the hopes of a free ride back to your car or boat. Fortunately, there's now the CGear Sand-Free Beach Towel, engineered in polyester to not only dry quickly ...read more

01-Blowup-Tiwal2_sailing-(3)

Gear: Tiwal Inflatable Sailing Dinghy

Blow-up Boating A few years ago, the French company Tiwal arrived on U.S. shores with that most improbable of products, an inflatable sailing dinghy that actually sails the way a boat is supposed to. Now, nearly 1,000 Tiwal 3’s later, the company is back with its Tiwal 2, an ...read more

Koozy

Gear: 22 Below Koozie

Killer Koozie For all that sailors love the warmth of this time of year, that same warmth can also wreak havoc on their otherwise icy-cold beers. (Unless, of course, you drink them very, very fast. But we won’t go there.) To help deal with this terrible hardship, North ...read more

Cool-Specs

Gear: Gill's Race Fusion Sunglasses

Wicked Cool Specs Is there anything in the world of sailing more fun than a cool pair of shades? Heck, no! And it would hard to find a cooler pair than these new Race Fusion specs from longtime weather-gear manufacture Gill. In addition to looking great, they include a number of ...read more

North_new

Gear: North Sails Waterproof Pack

A few years ago, North Sails made a big push into the apparel business with all kinds of sharp-looking button-down shirts, shorts and fleeces. That doesn’t mean, though, that the North Sails Collection isn’t still plenty practical, as is evident in its new roll-over waterproof ...read more