What to do with the ORMA 60 trimarans?


 
We talk to some of the main players about how to stop the rot in the world's most exciting race boat class
As was the case following the Route du Rhum three years ago, so after last month's Transat Jacques Vabre the ORMA 60 class finds itself once again in turmoil. During the recent biennial two handed race from Le Havre to Salvador de Bahia of ten 60ft trimaran starters, there were just four finishers, admittedly a better record than the Route du Rhum when of 18 starters only three completed the course. In the TJV four ORMA 60s capsized: TIM Progetto Italia due to an autopilot failure, Groupama II when her rudder disengaged combined with wave action, Foncia when she was hit by a gust while preparing for a tack and Orange Project following the breakage of one of her beams. In addition, the centre hull on Brossard nearly split in two and on Sodebo the port hull broke causing her to dismast. While the class had some excuse as their boats were lashed by winds ranging from 40 to 70 knots in the Route du Rhum, during the Transat Jacques Vabre conditions were tough but far from extreme. None of the boats on this occasion were new as they were in the Route du Rhum, leaving ORMA with no plausible excuses for the carnage. One can only conclude that the boats in their present form are unfit for oceanic racing and it is essential the class takes steps to remedy this before it kills itself off or someone dies. With this in mind we have had the distracting launch over this last weekend of the MultiCup, the transformed ORMA circuit as inspired by Benjamin Rothschild, owner of the two Gitana trimarans, happily two of the four Transat Jacques Vabre finishers. This may not offer all the solutions, but at least it should help to halt what many, including ourselves, believe

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