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Alain Thébault : "we will be able to fly over Lake Geneva"

The prototype l’Hydroptè, a 35’ foil catamaran, presented in Switzerland

mardi 24 août 2010Redaction SSS [Source RP]

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Alain Thébault, founder and pilot of the Hydroptère project and Jean-Mathieu Bourgeon, scientific manager of the project, accompanied by their Design Team, unveiled on Monday their new prototype, l’Hydroptè, a 35ft catamaran at the Decision SA shipyard in Ecublens (Switzerland) which will soon be launched on Lake Geneva.

In 2009, l’Hydroptère, the 60ft trimaran, became the fastest sailing craft in the world when she bet two absolute sailing speed records i.e. 51.36 knots (95 km/h) over 500 metres and 50.17 knots (93 km/h) over one nautical mile. These are milestones in the history of sailing. l’Hydroptè follows the same principle. As a trial lab, she will help conceiving l’Hydroptère maxi whose purpose is to beat the most famous oceanic records and to follow Jules Verne’s vision : Flying around the planet.

Three boats to attempt all major records : Pure speed, Atlantic crossing, Pacific crossing and circumnavigation.

- Alain Thébault : « This christening is a very important day for the team and for myself. I am proud and moved. l’Hydroptè is the result of years of studies and sailing sessions on l’Hydroptère but also of the work and the commitment of an extraordinary team. After a few weeks of adjustments and finish- works, we will be able to fly over Lake Geneva. l’Hydroptère is an extraordinary human and technological adventure and l’Hydroptè follows the same principle. As a lab boat designed to conceive l’Hydroptère maxi, this catamaran will help testing a new geometry and especially the configuration with two rudders. The objective of this hybrid sailing boat : The versatility. Sailing nearly as fast as Archimedean traditional boats and achieving higher speeds in flight. First on Lake Geneva, then in the Mediterranean and abroad, l’Hydroptè should give answers to precise questions related to flight dynamics and she will be an ambassador of the cross-frontier collaboration. »

- Patrick Aebischer, supporter of l’Hydroptè broke a bottle of Champagne at the end of the press conference and evoked the links that gathered the EPFL and the Hydroptère project from 2006 : ”The researches carried out at the EPFL have already contributed to the two records beaten by the team last year. l’Hydroptè is a new step in this collaboration. This sailing boat is an opportunity for the committed researchers to validate the developments they do and to experiment in real conditions the innovative solutions to extend the existing limits in many fields of activities. This project is really motivating for the researchers as well as for the students who are involved in it”.

- Info presse Marlène Colegrave /

Voir en ligne : Photo(s) Gilles Martin-Raget /

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