Christophe Launay Photography /

L' embarks on her record breaking quest

Alain Thebault's new machine eats up the miles on Lake Geneva, while L'Hydroptere is in Cowes...

Friday June 3rd 2011, Author: James Boyd, Location: Switzerland

Following from L'Hydroptere, Alain Thèbault's record breaking foiler trimaran, so the team has located to Switzerland where they have launched their 35ft foiler catamaran, L' with sponsorship support from Lombard Odier bank and watch manufacturer Zenith.

With their new boat Thèbault's team have made the same transition we saw in the boats for the 33rd America's in that she is a quasi-cat/tri with a flying centre hull to provide a more rigid footing for the fore and aft rig loads. The floats have seaplane-style stepped hulls as we saw on Yves Parlier'sMediatis Region Aquitaine cat, but she retains the V-foil configuration of the original L'Hydroptere with twin lifting T-foils on her rudders. This, remember, is the test platform for a new L'Hydroptere maxi, which is designed to break records offshore, ultimately including the Jules Verne Trophy.

Over the last couple of days L' has been out on Lake Geneva and with her crew including Thèbault, the legend that is Jacques Vincent plus Daniel and Stephane Schmaeh Dyen, they have started out in their quest to get up to speed and into record breaking form on the lake. On a run between Lausanne and Evian on Wednesday they averaged 29.18 knots over 1 km and hit a peak speed of 34.84 knots.

Yesterday with Thierry and Adrien Lombard and Decision SA's Bertrand Cardis also on board, they did a long port tack run towards Bouveret (the turning mark for the Bol d'Or Mirabaud) during which time they averaged 21.32 knots for one hour in 19 knots of wind. 

We will be interested to see her line up with one of Cardis' D35s...

Meanwhile....the original L'Hydroptere is back in the UK (after we went for a yacht on her last year) and Thèbault and Vincent will be in Cowes this weekend when they hope to make an attempt on the record around the Isle of Wight. This currently stands at 2 hours 33 minutes and 55 seconds (or an average speed of 19.53 knots) set in 2001 by the late Steve Fossett and his maxi-cat PlayStation. Weather-wise there appears to be just about enough wind this weekend, but the optimum conditions are when a NW-SW shift takes place as you round the Needles... This weekend the wind seems to be resolutely in the NE or NNE.

More images from Christophe Launay -




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