Where next for the maxi-multihulls?

Christophe Launay Photography / www.sealaunay.com
VPLP's Vincent Lauriot Prevost on Banque Populaire, the AC design package and the new Prince de Bretagne tri
With Banque Populaire successfully setting the new fastest time for the Jules Verne Trophy; the team unlikely to have another crack at bettering their present record; the 40m long trimaran conclusively proving she is the world’s fastest offshore race boat and no other competitors to her on the horizon...one wonders where the future for the fully crewed non-stop around the world record now lies? In the short term it is most likely that the Jules Verne Trophy will only be bettered if someone buys Banque Populaire and sets sail with an equally experienced crew and hopes for a more favourable forecast and less ice in the Pacific. In the perfect scenario (which of course is unlikely to ever happen), the feeling is that the present boat could get the Jules Verne Trophy time down to 40-41 days. Impressively, that would be approaching half the time Bruno Peyron and the crew of Commodore Explorer, the first Jules Verne Trophy holders, took in 1993. With Banque Populaire now five years old (six in design terms), we asked Vincent Lauriot Prevost of Banque Populaire’s designers VPLP how a state of the art 2012 generation maxi-tri might differ and whether it would be bigger? Prevost says that bigger is one option, but this is just one of many performance-defining factors in a maxi-tri, including beam, mast height, sail area, but particularly - something which all these factors play a part in - righting moment. “Up to now we know from this experience [Banque Populaire] that we are able to cope with something like a 260 tonne metre boat and we made a step forward compared with Groupama 3 which was less than 200,” says Lauriot Prevost. It should be remembered that Banque Populaire is substantially longer than Groupama 3, at 40m compared to 32m, but has only