Future of the Ultimate class

Photo: AFP
Route du Rhum organiser, Pen Duick's Pierre Bojic shares his views
So now they have successfully completed their first race - what is the future of the Ultimate class of giant unlimited multihulls? Over the last few weeks we have been canvassing opinion from several of the class’ top exponents...and all their views differ: Thomas Coville is fully up for racing the giant unlimited multihull more and is gagging to compete aboard his around the world “before he gets too old”. Francis Joyon is more cautious and doesn’t believe the present generation are up to being raced around the world singlehanded non-stop. He would prefer to work up to such an event gradually, following the current Route du Rhum across the Atlantic with a longer race, like the record he set between France and Mauritius, of around 10,000 miles in length, before, finally, taking them around the world but only after they have proven themselves to be adequately seaworthy. Meanwhile Franck Cammas doesn’t think it is safe to race Groupama 3 singlehanded but believes it would be easier doublehanded. But then his boat was designed to be sailed fully crewed. However an individual who may have the biggest hand in shaping the future of the Ultimate class is the man who originally proposed it for the Route du Rhum - Pierre Bojic, head of Pen Duick, organiser of France’s two premier transatlantic races, the Route du Rhum and the Transat Jacques Vabre. In 2008, to coincide with Francis Joyon and IDEC making their triumphant return to Brest in northwest France after a second exceptional record breaking voyage singlehanded non-stop around the world, so Bojic announced their collaboration with the city of Brest on a singlehanded non-stop round the world race for giant multihulls called Brest – Ultimate Challenge. However Bojic also identified that the Ultimate class might be good for his company’s transatlantic races: