A revolution in sailing – Hydroptere

I thought to creating a new category for the blog, a News category, with miscellanea posts from the yachting world. I receive a lot of news by mail. I also receive a lot of propositions for event coverage which sometimes is not related to the marine world. Remember that I’m a ship engineer. I can and I like to read about an Auto Saloon in general, but it’s not the purpose of this blog, except for certain SEO reasons. I’ll be happy if the proposers would bother to explain me in a little bit more detail how they like to be represented on this blog, and I’m not talking of banners here, they have their price of course, and they have some limits.

I’m talking about contextual linking, or articles. I don’t lack subjects, and my subjects aren’t quite covering racing events, I’m preoccupied more of the leisure aspect of owning a yacht, or the marine regulations, or the ownership exchanges, selling techniques, buying techniques, this sort of stuff. The News category will cover nautical world news, yachting and charter saloons, expos and events. Sometimes I’ll review companies if they need this.

the hydroptere, from the air

The fastest sailing boat

Today I want to say a few words about a revolutionary vehicle on sea, if I can name it so, a “hydrofoil”, named hydroptere by his creator. Hydroptere rhymes with helicopter, which means “twisted wing” in the ancient Greek language. I found the term “hydroptere” more suited because “water wing” is better expressed by this revolutionary vehicle. It is a sailing boat flying on the water. It’s designed like a hydroplane with sails which uses very little of it’s bottom to contact the water, 8% actually, in full speed.

Hydroptere, first pic

The look of the hydroptere

all pics originated from www.hydroptere.com. The video, is from youtube.com, of course :)

closer view

It’s a long history of how French yachtsman Alain Thébault built this hydrofoil in cooperation with the late Éric Tabarly since the 1990s. If the catamaran has two hulls in the water, this one has three. There is a long slim center canoe corp with another two small floating corps under the “wings”, and some foils between the wings and the main hull, for better controlling reasons. I don’t think it’s marketable yet. The idea of the hydrofoil originated when Emmanuel Denis Farcot opted for the installation of numerous small foils along a boat hull so as to lift it up and thus reduce the drag.

hydrofoil prototype

hydrofoil prototype


Once the boat reaches 10 knots, these immersed “wings”, deployed at 45 degrees in the water, generate an upward thrust. With the appropriate angle of attack of the foil, the sum of the pressure at what enter the water and of the depression at get out of the water generates an upward thrust with a reduced drag, which raises the boat like the wing of a plane. This is called the “lift”, and it’s the same principle that allows the wings to make a plane take off. Then the hull and the floats of Hydroptere fly five meters above the sea surface. Only 2.5 m² of the boat are in contact with the water and she is able to sail from 20 to 45 knots (from 37 to 83 km/h) in 10 seconds. And same result in the sea and in the air, the higher the speed, the greater the lift. – from their site

hydroptere's wing close-up

wing close-up

I was attracted by it because of my speed passion. Larry Page expressed interest in high-speed sailing earlier this month on his Google+ page. Alain Thebault, the boat’s skipper and designer, is looking for sponsors from Silicon Valley to fund his attempt to break the trans-Pacific speed record next year. “For 20 years, this boat has been built, destroyed, flipped, rebuilt and it’s very unique because it’s the only one for the moment”, he said. He recently invited Page to hike with them in San Francisco Bay, and it was a great success. The hoax is that Thebault and his four-person crew are determined to ride across the Pacific from Los Angeles to Honolulu faster than anyone ever has before, and he needs to raise somewhere between $3 and $3.5 million to make it happen. I think this money can make a better and safer boat, both faster and safer for riding the oceans, even for pleasure. You also have a video down here.

It looks fine. Imagine it to be yours, even at a costly price. Invest a million dollars in something a little smaller than that. It’ll be enough, another step for your independence. Think of something immersible at the same time. It’s not Jules Vernes, it’s much reachable.

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Copyright © 2012 The Yacht Owner – Hydroptere

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