France’s Maxi-tri Ultime class

Author:
Updated:
Original:
 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

01A-LEAD-Finished-table

DIY: A Better Saloon Table

The original saloon table in my Down East 45 schooner was a single heavy sheet of 3/4in laminated plywood, 27in wide by 57in long. It was supported on two substantial aluminum pedestals locking into a set of large round collars screwed to the sole. There were two annoying ...read more

02b-screen-shot

Salty Dawgs Recognized by CCA

The Salty Dawg Sailing Association (SDSA) has long been the go-to organization for high value, affordable rallies, but when Covid forced the sudden closure of borders in the Caribbean, it pivoted to organizing the Homeward Bound Flotilla. Its experience organizing rallies came ...read more

FB-BHM-1024

SAIL Black History Month Series: James Forten

James Forten was born on September 2, 1766 in Philadelphia to free Black parents Thomas and Margaret Forten. Forten attended a Quaker school as a young child, then went to work with his father who was a sailmaker. His father died when he was still young, and Forten worked ...read more

sailme-app_ SAIL

5 Ways Sail.me Helps You Monetize Your Boat

Ready to earn some extra funds by renting out your boat or yacht? Sail.me is an interactive service that allows you to monetize your boat in a secure, safe, and easy way. A user-friendly app and website will help you manage reservations, add-ons, and set customized routes to ...read more

VendeePromo

2020-21 Vendée Timeline

As a spectator event, France’s Vendée Globe never disappoints, and the 2020-21 edition of the quadrennial round-the-world race was no exception. From equipment failures to climactic rescues, heartbreaking abandonments and a breathtakingly close finish, this edition, which ...read more

valleytrunk3

BVI Chartering in the Pandemic

The week before I flew out to the British Virgin Islands for a bareboat charter, I was having a few second thoughts. The islands had broken out of their Covid-enforced tourism hiatus in December, but the conditions of entry seemed a little stringent: a negative Covid test within ...read more

01-LEAD-windfarm

Sailing Amid Offshore Wind Farms

Here in Europe, the general feeling about green energy from offshore wind turbines has moved on after an initial surge of general skepticism. Concerns raised over cost, threats to seabirds, wind interference and the rest have to some extent been answered, and it’s hard to argue ...read more

LunaRossaPrada

VIDEO: Luna Rossa Wins the Prada Cup

The show has gone on despite last week's Covid panic in Auckland, and the "underdog" Italians are victorious. After being bested by INEOS Team UK in the round robin section, they seemed to have an uphill battle ahead of them going into the finals. However, the Italians have been ...read more