Are 60ft trimarans unseaworthy?


 
The Daily Sail got the views of leading trimaran designer Nigel Irens
Pos Boat name Skipper Condition 1 TechnoMarine Steve Ravussin Capsized 2 Banque Populaire Lalou Roucayrol Racing 3 Géant Michel Desjoyeaux Racing 4 Biscuits La Trinitaine - Ethypharm Marc Guillemot Racing ABD Bonduelle Jean Le Cam Beam damage ABD Banque Covefi Bertrand deBroc Skipper gives up solo sailing ABD Sergio Tacchini Karine Fauconnier Weather float broke - boat dismasted ABD Sopra Group Philippe Monnet Capsized - severe conditions ABD Bayer CropSciences Frederic Le Peutrec Preserving boat ABD Belgacom Jean-Luc Nélias Deck gear failure ABD Fujifilm Loick Peyron Weather float broke - boat dismasted ABD Groupama Franck Cammas Capsized - moderate conditions ABD Rexona Men Yvan Bourgnon Capsized - severe conditions ABD Sodebo Thomas Coville Structural problems with beam and float ABD TIM Giovanni Soldini Structural problems ABD Gitana X Lionel Lemonchois Top mast broken ABD Eure&Loir-Lorénove Francis Joyon Capsized - moderate conditions ABD Foncia Alain Gautier Structural problems with aft beam Sunday before last eighteen 60ft trimarans set sail from St Malo in northern France to Guadeloupe in the Caribbean on the singlehanded Route du Rhum. In a fleet including the cream of the Open class monohulls, this was one of the most impressive gatherings of high speed ocean racing yachts ever assembled. A week into the race and of those 18 only four - sorry three (another's just capsized) - trimarans are still out on the race course competing. So are the 60ft trimarans too flimsy? Have they become too optimised for round the cans grand prix and not for the rigours of the open ocean? Or is it just plain stupid to start a race across the north Atlantic in November? The main reason for the carnage in the Route du Rhum was the severe weather during the first week when all the boats found themselves sailing into 40 knot headwinds and some unfortunate boats in the southeast quadrant of the depression experienced winds of 60-70 knots. These conditions were exceptional - the forecast charts only predicted winds of 35-45 knots - and are thought to be the strongest winds the 60ft tris have encountered in recent years. But then big conditions are not out of the ordinary when setting sail from northern Europe in November. Trimaran designer Nigel Irens believes that the race organisers need to

VISITORS