100 Knots Under Sail?

Although weather conditions this past summer prevented French speedster Alain Thébault from launching an attempt on the Los Angeles-Honolulu record aboard his foiling tri l’Hydroptere, the setback has hardly slowed him down.
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Although weather conditions this past summer prevented French speedster Alain Thébault from launching an attempt on the Los Angeles-Honolulu record aboard his foiling tri l’Hydroptere, the setback has hardly slowed him down. 

Saying that the ‘90s-era technology aboard the 60-foot l’Hydroptere is already near “the limit of its racing potential,” Thébault recently unveiled two new projects in the works: Hydroptere 2, an offshore 70-foot trimaran he hopes will some day cross the Atlantic in as little as three days; and Hydroptere Rocket, a foiling proa he hopes will break the 100-knot barrier.

Hydroptere Rocket, in particular, which bears a striking resemblance to Paul Larsen’s current flat-out 65.45 knots speed record holder, Vestas Sailrocket 2, looks truly out of this world. A first prototype could launch as early as this spring. Forget about crash helmets—does this thing come with parachutes? 

Image courtesy of l’Hydroptere

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