Budget ORMA 60s

We look at the Multi50 class and talk to its main players
While we have often previously bemoaned the death of our favourite big boat class – the ORMA 60 multihulls – in the aftermath of this has come not one, but two new classes. We have previously written about the MOD 70, the one design trimaran from VPLP, the project now Swiss-owned complete with a circuit including round Europe races and a round the world race via the Panama and Suez canals. However more at the budget end comes the new Multi50 class, with the three first boats designed specifically to the class rule now launched, interestingly from three different designers: - Franck-Yves Escoffier’s Crepes Whaou! from VPLP, - Yves le Blevec’s Actual from Guillaume Verdier - Herve Cleris’ Prince de Bretagne from Nigel Irens and Benoit Cabaret. To date these boats have had mixed fortunes. Crepes Whaou! this morning was first home in the Transat Jacques Vabre, while Actual flipped (possibly after a collision) shortly after the start, while the starboard float dramatic snapped off Prince de Bretagne during training prior to the start. Background 50ft multihulls are nothing new. The OSTAR, as was, had a class for them since the 1970s prompting a number of designs from the likes of Derek Kelsall, Dick Newick and Walter Greene, even a freshly graduated Marc van Peteghem. The 50ft multis had a blip in the early 1990s when Nigel Irens designed a series of three trimarans of this length for Pascal Herold, Fuji France boss Claude Develay and Brest dentist Hervé Cleris, who is currently racing his in the Transat Jacques Vabre. Like in the offshore monohull class - the Open 50s or today the Class 40s, compared to the Open 60 - the class has always been more of a Corinthian, amateur affair compared to their fully-pro bigger brother. In France for the