Friday, October 30, 2009

Groupama 3 arrives in Brest to await Jules Verne start

Frank Cammas and a delivery crew of 5 (Thomas Coville among them) have positioned Groupama 3 in Brest to begin their wait for a suitable weather window before starting on their attempt to break the Jules Verne around-the-world record.

With the boat now in Brest, some final preparations are under way, including the removal of the engine and propellor-shaft as well as loading provisions (once the bilges have been cleaned).

The Jules Verne trophy is currently held by Bruno Peyron aboard Orange 2, with a time of 50 days 16 hours and 20 minutes, set in 2005. This is the second attempt at the Jules Verne trophy by Groupama 3 - she abandoned her last attempt after losing a float off New Zealand in February 2008. She became the first sailing boat to pass the 800 miles per day record with 857 miles in 24 hours on her recent North-Atlantic crossing.

Groupama 3 berthed at the new port of Le Château. Image © SEA&CO /Benoit Stichelbaut, used with permission.

BOR90 v3.0 sailing again

After a second round of modifications taking nearly 5 weeks, BMW Oracle Racing have taken their 90-foot trimaran sailing again off the California coast. The boat returned to the water on Sunday (October 25th) and spent 4 days undergoing dock-side tests of its new systems. The BOR90 went out for its first sailing trials yesterday (Thursday October 29th).

The single largest change made was to remove the four "coffee grinders" powering the winches and replace them with an engine and hydraulics. The boat now sails with a smaller crew, the engine providing the horsepower previously supplied by manual "grinders". The deck layout for the winches has been extensively modified now that there is more room to fit everything.

There were several other changes visible from yesterday's sailing photos. The rudder and dagger-board have been removed from the main hull and longer J-shaped foils (the previous foils were C-shaped) have been fitted to the floats (amas). The bow-sprit appears to have been lengthened and its braces have new struts below and above. Finally, the trampolines no longer extend all the way to the floats, only reaching about one-third of the distance out from the main hull.

Sailing again - sans grinders and main hull foils. Photo © Gilles Martin-Rage, used with permission.

The longer bow-sprit and deeper foils are clear in this shot. Photo © Gilles Martin-Rage, used with permission.
There is now more room on-deck with the removal of the grinders. Photo © Gilles Martin-Rage, used with permission.

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Adrenalin is pumping again

One of the most interesting trimarans ever built has been re-assembled and is sailing again in Auckland, New Zealand. Adrenalin was built to Formula 40 rules by the Gougeon Brothers in the 80's. Bruce Niederer explains her history:

The last commissioned boat the Gougeon Brothers built was Adrenalin. Started in 1984 and launched in 1987, she is a trimaran with articulating amas built to Formula 40 rules for Bill Piper of Ossineke, Michigan, and intended to race on the European circuit. She shocked the sailboat racing community by placing a very close second in her first regatta on the Grand Prix circuit in 1988. She raced for two seasons in Europe against the traditional big cats until, as Jan Gougeon put it, “They couldn’t stand being consistently beaten and changed the rule so the boat became illegal and only cats could race.” Adrenalin was purchased by New Zealander Grant Beck in 2007.

Built from wood and epoxy, Adrenalin has articulated amas (floats) which pivot from the front beam). Photo © John Bertenshaw, used with permission.

Adrenaline is now jointly owned by Rodney Keenan and Colin Palmer/Adhesive Technologies Limited, and they have recently re-assembled her in Auckland. Apart from the articulated wave-piercing floats, she also features a rotating wing mast and boomless main.

The aft end of the floats (amas) are supported by a wood/epoxy leaf spring. Downward travel is limited by a control line (the blue one). Photo © John Bertenshaw, used with permission.

Adrenalin is constructed of wood and West System epoxy, as shown by clear sections left in the wings decorating the transom of the centre hull (vaka). Photo © John Bertenshaw, used with permission.

The following short video shows Adrenalin out sailing on Auckland harbour. You can plainly see the windward float (ama) pivoting freely out of the water, as well as the leeward float pivoting relative to the centre hull. You can also see how fast she is in this light breeze.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Majan starts "Tour of Arabia"

The first Arabian 100 (A100) has now been launched by Oman Sail, and officially christened Majan (the ancient name for Oman). After four months of assembly in Oman's southern-most port of Salalah, Majan has been carrying out sea trials off the Omani coast under the watchful eye of skipper Paul Standbridge.
Designed by Nigel Irens, Majan is a development of the proven design Sodeb'O, the single-handed record breaker designed for Thomas Coville. Image © Sail Oman, used with permission.
Majan first kissed the water back on August 23rd. She has since been rigged and fitted out ready for sea trials. Image © Oman Sail, used with permission.
Her first official outing will be a 'Tour of Arabia' starting today from Muscat, which will include stops in UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar before joining the Dubai-Muscat race back to Muscat at the end of November.

55 knot foiler - Hydroptère

Alain Thébault and the team of Hydroptère have succeeded in setting a new sailing speed record. On September 4th the crew took their highly-developed foiling trimaran to a new record of 51.36 knots over 500 metres and 48.72 knots over 1 nautical mile on Hyères Harbour.

The two new records were ratified by the World Sailing Speed Record Council on September 24th, making Hydroptère the fastest sailing machine on the planet.This amazing foiler turned 28 knots of breeze into 51 knots of boat speed. Photo © Gilles Martin-Raget / L'Hydroptère, used with permission.

Top speed measured was 55.5 knots (103 km/h). The fastest average speed over 500m was recorded on the last of 8 runs by the boat on September 4th. Photo © Gilles Martin-Raget / L'Hydroptère, used with permission.

Concentration at 100 km/h! Hydroptèreis configured for open-ocean sailing, not just record attempts in protected waters. The team are looking to set an open-ocean speed record next. Photo © Gilles Martin-Raget / L'Hydroptère, used with permission.

The fastest men under sail! Alain Thébault and his crew - Anders Bringdal, Jean-Mathieu Bourgeon, François Cazala, Damien Colegrave, Stéphane Dyen, Matt Hodgson, Jérémie Lagarrigue, Pierre Trémouille, Gérard Navarin and Jacques Vincent. Photo © Gilles Martin-Raget / L'Hydroptère, used with permission.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

North Atlantic record tumbles to Banque Populaire V

The crew of Banque Populaire V after breaking the North Atlantic record. Image © BPCE/Benoit Stichelbaut, used with permission

After 6 weeks on stand-by in New York city, Pascal Bidégorry and his team aboard Banque Populaire V sprinted across the North Atlantic to smash the previous record by 12 hours and 32 minutes on August 2nd. In a dramatic downwind drag-race across the North Atlantic (a “duel Atlantique”), the 40m long Banque Populaire V arrived off Lizard Point just 12 minutes before Franck Cammas and his crew aboard the 31.5m long Groupama 3 (the previous record holder) who left New York 2 hours and 35 minutes ahead. Groupama 3 also beat their 2007 record, but they were not as fast as Banque Populaire V. The new record stands at 3 days 15 hours 25 minutes and 48 seconds, an average speed of 32.9 knots.

On the third day of the crossing, Banque Populaire V also established a new record for the distance covered in a 24 hour period, covering an incredible 907 nautical miles (1,044 miles or 1,680km) at an average speed of 37.79 knots (70 km/h). The fastest speed achieved on the crossing by the world’s largest trimaran was 46 knots (85 km/h).

Both trimarans decided to depart from New York city into the same weather window, and after a slow start on day 1 they were rewarded with around 30 knots of wind at an ideal angle (130°) by day 2. Groupama 3 was the faster of the two boats when the winds were below 20 knots, but when the winds went over 25 knots Banque Populaire V was the faster boat, taking advantage of her longer waterline.

On breaking the record, Pascal Bidégorry said “I did not think we could go through so quickly. We did not ask whether we could better the time of 2007. We stayed focused on the weather, strategy and progress of the boat, obsessed only with squeezing the most speed out of the boat. Banque Populaire V is unique and we are all extremely proud to sail on this exceptional boat.”

Arriving off Lizard Point after breaking the North Atlantic record. Image © BPCE/Benoit Stichelbaut, used with permission

This was a truly awesome drag-race between two of the most advanced sailing machines on the planet – and they are likely to meet again as both boats go into preparation for an around-the-world attempt for the Jules Verne trophy.

The team aboard Groupama 3 arriving off Lizard Point. They broke their 2007 record, but were not as fast as the larger Banque Populaire V. Image © SEA&CO /Benoit Stichelbaut, used with permission