Sunday, March 14, 2010

Big Multihulls

In the 1980's big multihulls, eighty or ninety feet length overall, began making runs at some of the bluewater records: Atlantic crossings, circumnavigations, New York to San Francisco by the Horn, and so on. So many of these early attempts ended in structural failure or capsize. I remember thinking that as big as they were the boats weren't really big enough, that a trimaran or catamaran 130 feet (40 meters) or more could handle almost all seas and continue to make speed, and be strong enough to hold up. A few years later the monster multihulls made the scene, and the old records began steadily to fall. Here's a link to a great video showcasing a few of these big boats, including Banque Populaire V, holder of the record for fastest west to east Atlantic crossing.

Banque Populaire V has her sights now on the Jules Verne Record for fastest circumnavigation (departing and returning to the English Channel, and leaving the Cape of Good Hope, Cape Leeuwin, and Cape Horn to port).
The present record holder is the 38 meter (124 foot) catamaran Orange II, skippered by Bruno Peyron: 50 days, 16 hours and 20 minutes. You can see her in the video.

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