Sodebo Ultim is launched
Starting her life in 2001 as Geronimo, Olivier de Kersauson's maxi-trimaran fully crewed record breaker, the Sodebo team in conjunction with the boat's designers and Chantier Multiplast have created an impressive weapon for solo offshore racing and record breaking.
This transformation has taken 14 months to complete and skipper Thomas Coville was busting with pride as his new 31m long trimaran was launched. Her hull number of 73 refers to the year of creation of the company Sodebo, while she is emblazoned with the slogan La Liberte a du Bon. The trimaran's first major competition will be the Route du Rhum starting on 2 November.
"I am very excited," said Coville. "This collective effort is the embodiment of more than a year of imagination and achievement by dozens of people who have done a great job. Today, she floats! I am proud of this boat. For me, Geronimo no longer exists, she has become Sodebo Ultim. Of course this boat has a soul but has become another trimaran with another personality and another program."
The latest member of the Sodebo family is the fifth in their fleet, representing a 16 year involvement between the company and the sailing adventures it has supported.
As Geronimo was in 2001, Sodebo Ultim is a reflection of her time, and includes the latest innovations. This is necessary to make her competitive with the other boats in the Route du Rhum's Ultimate class, including the Banque Populaire and Spindrift 2 maxi tris. The new Sodebo is also part of the Collectif Ultim which has the desire to create a new racing circuit for these boats, including a round the world race. At the launch ceremony this morning were representatives of the Banques Populaire and MACIF campaigns.
To undertake the transform of Geronimo into Sodebo Ultim the team returned to the boat's original builder, Chantier Multiplast in Vannes, working with designers VPLP and engineers HDS.
The most radical change to the boat is her new 31m (102ft) long central hull which is shorter than the previous one. The floats were fitted with new 'Dreadnought' style bows there are now rudders and foils in the floats as well. The beams had to be reinforced to support the extra load coming from the new foils in the floats.
The original boom was tailors to suit the new 115ft mast built by Lorima and the sails designed and built by North Sails.
As with Geronimo, Coville has chosen to keep the cockpit very contained with a tiny living space of just three square meters.
Saving weight was another focus of the transformation and the result is impressive - Coville announced this morning that seven tonnes have been removed from the platform in this process.
Multiplast took care of building the main hull and the floats, while the Sodebo team worked on the beams, appendixes and all the deck hardware and the rigging.
"The major point was to have confidence in the performance estimates of this modified version, to make good decisions regarding the weight versus the power of the boat and to confirm that we could save seven tons, enabling us to be closer to our reference point: the Maxi Trimaran Banque Populaire VII," confided designer Vincent Lauriot-Prévost. "She will be a serious competitor in the Route du Rhum!"
There was some nostalgia over Coville taking over Geronimo. For he was part of the Oliver de Kersauson's Jules Verne Trophy attempt in 1997.
Sodebo Ultim will be delivered to her homeport of La Trinite sur Mer this week ahead of her first sea trials, beginning next week.
Beam: 21.20 m
Manufacturer mast Lorima
Mast height: 35m
Mast chord: 1.20 m
Air draft: 37m
Design and manufacture sails: North Sails
Mainsail area: 283m²
Max sail area upwind: 444m²
Max downwind sail area: 663m²
Cockpit with one pedestal and six winches
400m² nets dyneema
Autopilots: electrical and hydraulic