The future of L'Hydroptere
After an eventful year in the USA, Alain Thébault's L'Hydroptere team of is taking advantage of the winter to fine-tune their technological and sports program as they continue their search to find a new sponsor, following the premature departure of DCNS last autumn.
Before the Christmas holidays, L'Hydroptere was laid up in the bay of San Francisco as her team works on a five year development program for their radical boat.
In the short term, L'Hydroptere - both boat and crew - have to gather as much experience as possible in the Pacific and aims to demonstrate that sailboats can fly offshore.
The Transpacific record attempt is still scheduled for next summer and this will be followed by a public relations campaign to introduce the trimaran to the public.
"It's amazing how this boat continues to make people dream; this technology still fascinates a lot. L'Hydroptere is the only boat able to sail offshore and to take guests to nearly 50 knot," says crewman Yves Parlier.
In the medium term, the team wants to start building a prototype for pure speed, inspired by the recent works of Vestas Sailrocket. "The supersonic sailing barrier was crossed thanks to Paul Larsen. Now the target has to be an average of 80 knots" agrees Alain Thébault.
In the longer term, Hydroptere 2, a trimaran that will be a synthesis of L'Hydroptere and the best conventional maxi-multihulls, will aim to cross the Atlantic in three days and to exceed the legendary barrier of covering 1,000 miles in 24 hours.
"We have considerable experience in the field of foils and high speed. With these three challenges, we have enough to fill an ambitious program over 5 years," continues Thébault. "Technology and pioneering spirit will always be the core of the project. We are taking advantage of the winter to gather skills, to get various sources of advice and we are working diligently to develop a global roadmap. The objective is to get a first series of support before spring to consolidate the process."