Is it a boat? Is it a plane?


 
We take a close look at Yves Parlier's radical new 60ft catamaran
These days whenever a 60ft trimaran, Open 60 or even a 100+ft G-Class multihull is launched, despite these being relatively open and supposedly ground breaking classes the result is most often predictable with the exception of some new curve or widget. Many bemoan the disappearance of the ground breaking boats of pioneers like Eric Tabarly although conservatism among designers, builders and skippers does serve to make sponsor's money safer. Bucking the trend, as always, is Yves Parlier whose new Médiatis Région Aquitaine is one of the most radical, ground-breaking boats ever conceived. For starters she's a catamaran. Competitive 60ft multihulls have been around for several decades now and over this period three hulls have time and time again proved faster than two - the central hull allows them better forestay tension going upwind, they have more beam and better righting moment when reaching and less wetted surface area in light conditions. Yves Parlier's boat has the most massive beam of 15.05m - almost 50ft - giving her the biggest beam to length ratio of any racing catamaran we have come across. But the greatest innovation is in her hulls and rig. The former have the complex shape of a seaplane undercarriage, while the latter ressembles a less extreme version of Pete Goss' Team Philips, with effectively a wingmast in each hull. To many the boat would seem like sheer lunacy, were it not for the fact that the brains behind the Médiatis Région Aquitaine project is Yves Parlier. There is the famous story from the last Vendee Globe when Parlier was leading the race until his mast snapped. Instead of retiring he pulled into Bluff, New Zealand, fixed the carbon spar with materials he had on board and singlehandedly restepped the mast without outside assistance. He then sailed half way around

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