After having crossed the Channel faster than Blériot did by plane in 2005, Hydroptere beat two world speed records ratified by the World Sailing Speed Record Council (WSSRC) on 4th April 2007: 44.81 knots of average speed over 500 meters and 41.69 knots of average speed over one nautical mile.
Strengthened by these two new records, Alain Thébault and his team decided to temporarily focus on pure speed and to try to beat the absolute sailing speed records. (long held by windsurfers, the absolute speed record over 500 meters belongs to the American Rob Douglas since 2010 at an average of 55.65 knots).
After having undergone works to be configured for pure speed between October 2007 and March 2008, in April, Hydroptere was launched for the first time in her history in the Mediterranean. The objective was to find a sea spot that was adapted to the flying trimaran in her quest for the record, with a wind blowing steadily at over 25 knots and with a quite flat water surface. Alain Thébault and his team chose Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône. The results of 2008 were highly positive as Hydroptere improved her two speed records up to: 46.88 knots of average speed over 500 meters and 43.09 knots of average speed over one nautical mile.
On 21st December 2008 Hydroptere was the first sailing boat to cross the 50-knot sailing speed barrier (the coveted “wind barrier”) i.e. 92.6 km/h and then 100 km/h with a top speed at 56.3 knots (104 km/h). 2009 was also the year of absolute sailing speed records. The record campaign was successful. Hydroptere raised both world records to a level that is difficult to access by the competitors: 51.36 knots of average speed over 500 meters and 50.17 knots of average speed over one nautical mile.
From 2010, Hydroptere got back to a more versatile offshore configuration. From this time, the objective was to head offshore. During two seasons, the crew toured Europe and trained on longer routes where they had to cross areas with 3-4 meter high waves.
2012 marks a new turn. Hydroptere’s name was changed into Hydroptere when the French ship building group became major sponsor. Pursuing the initial dream of Éric Tabarly and Alain Thébault, the Hydroptère team gets once more back to a record configuration but dedicated to offshore sailing. The first stop of Hydroptere will be in the Pacific.
The Channel crossing record
Hydroptere smashed Louis Blériot's motorized performance. The first flying sailboat is faster than the first plane.
Date: 9th February 2005
Distance: Dover-Calais i.e. 19 miles (approx. 35.2 km)
Duration: 34 minutes and 24 seconds
Average speed: 33 knots (61.12 km/h)
World speed records
World Sailing Speed Record Council (WSSRC)
Date: 4th April 2007
Speed record in category D over 500 meters: average of 44.81 knots
Outright nautical mile record: average of 41.69 knots
Speed record in category D over 500 meters: average of 46.88 knots
Outright nautical mile record: average of 43.09 knots.
On 21st December 2008 Hydroptere is the first sailing boat to cross the 50-knot sailing speed barrier (92.6 km/h) and then 100 km/h with a top speed at 56.3 knots (104 km/h).
World Sailing Speed Record Council (WSSRC)
Absolute speed record on 500 meters
Date: 4th September 2009
Speed: Average of 51.36 knots (today the Australian Paul Larsen on Vestas Sailrocket is holder of the record at an average of 65.45 knots).
Hydroptere is still holder of the world record in D-Class (Over 300 ft²).
Outright nautical mile record (1,852 meters)
Date: 8th November 2009
Speed: Average of 50.17 knots over one nautical mile (today Paul Larsen on Vestas Sailrocket is holder of the record at an average of 55.32 knots).
One-mile sailing speed record on San Francisco Bay
Race committee under the authority of the Yacht Racing Association of San Francisco Bay (YRA) and the San Francisco Bay Area Multihull Association (BAMA)
During their stand-by in San Francisco, Alain Thébault and his crewmembers learned that there was no official San Francisco bay nautical mile record. They decided to settle one in order to promote speed challenges in the bay. This record is a signal to all vessels with a great speed potential in the bay, in particular the AC72 which will be racing in 2013 for the America's Cup. Full press release here.
Date : September 1st 2012
Speed : average of 37,5 knots over one nautical mile (43.2 mph / 69.5 kph)