L'Hydroptere hits 50 knots!

But no record yet for Alain Thebault's persistent tri-foiler

Monday October 6th 2008, Author: James Boyd, Location: United Kingdom
Last Wednesday Alain Thebault's well refined tri-foiler L'Hydroptere resumed its speed training in the Bay of Fos sur Mer to the west of Marseilles where the wind was forecast to be 25-28 knots from the NNW.

Despite a residual swell that hampered her ultimate speed on the same day as new kiteboard records were being set in Namibia, so L'Hydroptere managed to clock her own personal record of 49.4 knots off Napoleon Beach.

On Saturday with the wind gusting to 40 knots, L'Hydroptere became the first sail boat to record speeds in excess of 50 knots. Analysis of the data recorded on Saturday showed their top speed peaked on their third run at an incredible 52.86 knots.

"It is the first time a sailing boat has crossed the wind barrier that is 50 knots," commented Alain Thebault. "Now all we have to do is stabilise this speed over 500m."

While L'Hydroptere has sailed at more than 50 knots, to achieve a world record in the eyes of the World Sailing Speed Record Council, she must average this pace over a 500m course (as the kitesailers managed in Namibia).

Sadly Thibault and his crew will have to wait a while now as the Mistral conditions, so perfect in this region of France for record breaking in flat water, have abated.

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