Broken: 50-Knot Barrier falls! - Sail Magazine

Broken: 50-Knot Barrier falls!

On 4 September, Alain Thbault’s hydrofoiling trimaran, L’Hydroptre, became the fastest sailboat on the planet, rifling off two impressive feats in the same day in France’s La Seyne sur Mer. First, the flying tri registered an average speed of 48.72 knots over a distance of one nautical mile; then it fired off an average pace of 51.36 knots over a distance of 500 meters. Even more
Author:
Publish date:
hydroptere_sf

On 4 September, Alain Thbault’s hydrofoiling trimaran, L’Hydroptre, became the fastest sailboat on the planet, rifling off two impressive feats in the same day in France’s La Seyne sur Mer.

First, the flying tri registered an average speed of 48.72 knots over a distance of one nautical mile; then it fired off an average pace of 51.36 knots over a distance of 500 meters. Even more impressive was the fact that their top speed of the day was a tooth-rattling 55.5 knots… in 28 knots of wind (the boat sails so fast that it creates a lot of apparent wind). While these speeds have yet to be ratified by the World Sailing Speed Record Council, the official keeper of all records pertaining to sailing, there is now no longer any doubt that sailboats can sail well above the 50-knot barrier, and that these dizzying speeds are no longer reserved for kiters.

L’Hydroptre is 59 feet long, with a beam of 80 feet and carries roughly 3,700 square feet of sail area. The boat uses a pair of lateral foils that extend inwards from each outer ama at roughly 45 degrees. These foils create enough lift that L’Hydroptre can fly in only 12 knots of breeze. But, because of the massive amount of load that’s exerted on each foil (but particularly the leeward foil), each is equipped with nitrogen-pressured “effort limiters” (AKA shock absorbers) to shift or travel (up to approximately two-feet) as each foil encounters waves.

While L’Hydroptre recent achievements are mind boggling, especially considering how relaxed the crew—especially the helmsman—looks in the photos, the boat has not been without its share of mishaps and famous crashes. Still, now that the record is shattered, there’s little doubt that Thbault and crew are satisfied with their efforts…at least for now.

For more information, check out
www.hydroptere.com

Related

ElanGT5-a

Boat Review: Elan GT5

Aboard many modern yachts, it can be hard to remember exactly what boat you’re on until your eye happens to light upon a logo. However, this is most definitely not the case with the Elan GT5, a performance cruiser with a look all its own and style to burn.Design & ...read more

01-Lead-P1060210

Handheld VHF Radios

For many sailors, cell phones have become their primary means of both ship-to-shore and ship-to-ship communication. Even the Coast Guard will often ask for a cell number after it receives a distress call. None of this, however, makes a VHF radio any less important—and this goes ...read more

Seascape24

Boat Review: Seascape 24

Since its inception in 2008, Slovenian builder Seascape, founded by a pair of Mini Transat sailors, has focused solely on creating boats that are both simple and loads of fun to sail. With their 18-footer and then a 27-footer they succeeded in putting out a pair of trailerable ...read more

01-Trash-Tiki_in-partnership-with-Subtch-Sports_starting

The Adventurers Aboard Trash-Tiki

If you were in Gotland, a popular island vacation destination off the coast of Sweden, on the morning of July 3, your holiday might have been interrupted by a startling sight: a tiny island of trash approaching shore with people aboard. It was, in fact, a sailboat made from ...read more

atlantic-cup-trailer

2018 Atlantic Cup Video Mini-Series

Atlantic Cup 2018: TrailerThis past spring, SAIL magazine was on-hand to document the 2018 Atlantic Cup, a two-week-long Class 40 regatta spanning the U.S. East Coast and one of the toughest events in all of North America. The preview above will give you a taste of the four-video ...read more

hardangerfjord

Cruising: Holland to Norway

In 2015, we cruised to Norway’s Lofoten Islands on our Nordic 40, Juanona, which we’d sailed transatlantic from Maine to England. Our 2016 plan was to cruise through the Netherlands to the Kiel Canal, sail into the Baltic as far as Stockholm, then cruise the western coast of ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell.Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.comThe Watch-keeper’s Nightmare The commercial watchkeeper’s most awkward decisions come with a vessel converging from abaft the starboard beam showing a red light. If he’s more than 2 points, or around 22 ...read more

cosair760R

Boat Review: Corsair 760R

We’d only been out on Miami’s Biscayne Bay aboard the Corsair 760R a few minutes when Corsair Marine marketing manager Shane Grover and I began bemoaning the fact neither of us had a GPS with us to determine our boatspeed. Moments later, though, we both came to the same ...read more