"Hydroptère" flies to the record
Alain Thébault has covered the 19 nautical miles from Dover to Calais across the Canal in the trimaran "Hydroptère" in a record time of 34 minutes and 24 seconds. This corresponds to an average speed of 33.3 knots. The hydrofoil reached a maximum of 43.4 knots.
The predecessor was Jean Le Cam with his Orma 60 trimaran "Bonduelle", which had sailed an average of 29 knots.
It is the first record in a ten-year development period that was marked by many low blows. The initiator of the project is the now deceased French sailing hero Éric Tabarly. After Thébault's death, Alain Thébault continued the speed project, but there were always new problems with the enormous forces that arise when driving on wings.
The further development was delayed again and again due to lack of money until a few years ago Airbus helped to optimize the 18-meter ship. Then "Hydroptère" cracked the 40-knot mark for the first time in the summer of 2002. Shortly afterwards, however, another connecting arm to the foils broke. Since then, the ship has been lightened by another 300 kilograms and is now apparently much easier to sail.
Now Thébault is thinking of tackling the record on the Atlantic route in the next few months.
In issue 6 of the YACHT, there is a big special on ThemSpeed, which also deals with "Hydroptère" and wing technology