L'Hydroptere on record attempt


The mad French foiler is in Ocean Village
This story comes to you following a tip off from Batmail. If anything untoward is going on in your neighbourhood which you think we should know about send us a Batmail (see right) and our caped crusader journalists will follow it up... Occasionally yachting magazines run articles about 'boats of the future' where they get yacht designers to scratch their beards and predict what we will be sailing in 10 or 50 years time. Well the boat which we will be sailing in 50 years time is currently parked in Ocean Village, Southampton. It may look like a trimaran, but L'Hydroptere, is in fact a foiler in the truest sense of the word - it has three hulls connected by a single cross beam. Attached to each crossbeam-float join is a huge 21ft long foil and these combined with the rudder are capable of lifting the entire boat out of the water. Water ballast in each of the three hulls is used to stabilise and trim the boat when sailing. Slung on the aft side of each side of the crossbeam is a cockpit, while the rig is fairly standard 60ft trimaran technology, with a rotating wingmast. The project is the brainchild of Frenchman Alain Dassault and has been under development since the first incarnation of the boat was launched on 1 October 1994. During early sea trials she hit 39.7 knots, but since then has been dogged by two significant breakages - in 1995, while she was sailing from Lorient to Belle Ile, the cross beam broke while in 1998 the attachment for the starboard foil broke. Each time Dassault and his team have bounced back, repairing and improving this extraordinary craft. At present L'Hydroptere is in Ocean Village awaiting conditions to make a record attempt. Cowes-St Malo

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