Photos: T.Lesage/l'Hydroptère DCNS

L'Hydroptere DCNS first trials off LA

Gearing up for the Transpac record attempt

Wednesday July 25th 2012, Author: James Boyd, Location: United States

On Sunday afternoon, l’Hydroptère DCNS carried out her first sea trials in the United States. The flying trimaran initially put in some tacks off Long Beach before heading towards Catalina Island. It proved to be a gentle first outing in perfect weather conditions.

Jacques Vincent, co-skipper of l’Hydroptère DCNS, Luc Alphand, the latest member of the team, and the programme’s four technicians, François Cazala, Warren Fitzgerald, Jeff Mearing and Pierre Tocny, were able to put the flying trimaran through her paces on the water on Sunday in her offshore record configuration.

Having set off from Gladstone’s pontoon in Rainbow Harbor Marina at around 1300 hours local time, the team on l’Hydroptère DCNS enjoyed a great day on the water, with 15 to 20 knots of breeze over the course of their first American sea trial.

On the programme, the six men aboard began by testing the various configurations of the new sail plan. On the boat’s stern section, a wind generator has been fitted to the mainsail traveller with the aim of providing additional power during the record attempt.

After this first series of operations, the fastest sailboat on the planet set a course for Catalina Island and the bulk of the afternoon was devoted to trialling the servo-control of the aft stabiliser. Developed by DCNS’ engineers, this system, a pioneer in its own way, enables the trim of the flying trimaran to be controlled more responsively, particularly in heavy seas.

The new carbon skeg (the part which supports the stabiliser on the boat’s aft section), which was dry-fitted a few days ago, is working perfectly. It replaces a previous heavier version, which was made of aluminium.

“We’re going to be able to continue with our sea trials whilst we wait for a weather window to take shape. We’re satisfied with this initial outing and everyone worked well. The servo-control of the lift surface, a modification introduced with DCNS, could be a major turning point in the improvements to the boat. We’re starting from scratch here so we’re moving forward a step at a time, but the initial results are very encouraging”, concludes François Cazala, the boat’s technical manager.

The technical team also tested its new onboard desalinator, which is a symbol of the flying trimaran’s transition to offshore racing.

NB: No favourable weather window appears to be shaping up within the next week at least for l’Hydroptère DCNS' attempt on the Transpac record.

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