François Gabart launches the last record-hunting trimaran


François Gabart, holder of the single-handed non-stop world record, unveiled a new giant Ultim trimaran radically equipped with “fighter” helm stations

François Gabart, currently the fastest man to circumnavigate the world solo and non-stop, has unveiled his latest trimaran, the radical SVR-Lazartigue.

Previously named “M101”, the trimaran took two and a half years to come to fruition and, once again, is shifting the bar for what is considered radical in the giant foil Ultim class.

The most obvious innovation for the new trimaran is that it does not have a “cockpit”. Instead of a covered or protected cockpit, François Gabart – and his crew trying to set a record or racing as a crew – will navigate the boat from the inside.

Launch day of François Gabart’s new Ultim SVR-Lazartigue trimaran. Notice the steering pods in the middle of the cockpit’s flush roof Photo: Maxime Horlaville

In addition to the development of foils and the constant search for hydrodynamic improvements, François Gabart’s team has placed a great deal of emphasis on the search for aerodynamic improvements. While some of the other Ultims have redesigned panels to improve aerodynamic efficiency, the SVR-Lazartigue was designed for flight from the start.

The key to this is the integration of the cockpit and living space into the central hull. In the 5 m2 central hull, there are three main areas: a “cockpit” for maneuvering and steering the boat, a small galley space and storage for sails, etc. The cab roof is almost flush with the main arms and trampoline for minimal drag.

Giant curved foils and hydraulic controls on the SVR-Lazartigue Ultim Photo: Maxime Horlaville

Forward visibility is created via two fighter-style forward-facing nacelles or “bubbles”, with a sliding hatch, much like those on a military jet. The coxswain will be protected by a windshield when cruising at high speed – many Ultim skippers wear goggles allowing them to watch the wind and spray.

François Gabart and his crew will only go on deck for essential repairs, and maneuvers such as certain sail changes. Like Alex Thomson’s latest Hugo Boss IMOCA 60, also equipped with an interior cockpit, there will be exterior cameras to view on deck and around the trimaran.

Fighter-style helm stations on François Gabart’s new Ultim

Also like a fighter jet, the trimaran is equipped with a radically new control system, developed in-house. Five times smaller than the usual 1.5m diameter wheel, the new SVR-Lazartigue trimaran will be piloted with a compact 30cm wheel nestled in the cockpit, as well as other foil and sail controls.

Founder of MerConcept and skipper SVR-Lazartigue François Gabart Photo: Maxime Horlaville

François Gabart explains: “It’s a new way of sailing. It will probably rely more on sounds and movement. We will be able to go very quickly, while being protected from an apparent wind that can reach 120 km / h.

“This configuration should allow us to go even faster on the water. Under certain conditions, the speed gain will be enormous. What is certain is that we can go 10 to 15% faster. Over a day, that can represent 200 km… ”

The internal cockpit will also offer Gabart or the crew additional protection in the event of a capsize.

Additional aerodynamic gains have come from careful fairing of everything from communication antennas to the propeller. Like Thomas Coville’s Sodebo, which moved the cockpit to the front of the mast, the integrated cockpit allows the boom to sit very flush with the deck, creating a very aerodynamic end plating effect for better efficiency. sailing.

More than 150,000 hours, some 40 months of work and around twenty local companies took part in the project, built by the company MerConcept of Gabart in Concarneau, where it was unveiled yesterday as launched this Thursday in Concarneau.

Integrated fairings on the front beams and super thin hull shapes for maximum aerodynamic and hydrodynamic efficiency Photo: Maxime Horlaville

Halfway through construction, Gabart’s sponsors of his Vendée Globe-winning campaign and the successful solo world record with his previous Ultimate, Macif, have announced that they will not continue to support him. However, it has since gained support from a French cosmetics company, Kresk, and was able to complete the construction.

The design was a joint project between VPLP and the internal MerConcept team, with GSEA Design and CDK Technologies working on the floats, fore and aft arms and foils. Multiplast built the central hull, C3 Technologies the centerboard and the rudders. The sails are from North Sails for sails with a Lorima mast.

Low profile from bow to stern with the two ‘fighter jet’ nacelles just visible behind the foil Photo: Maxime Horlaville

François Gabart declared on the day of the launch: “This boat is exclusively designed for offshore flight. We are living an extraordinary revolution and we do not know how far it can take us. Everything is possible and we have no limits, the trimaran SVR-Lazartigue embodies this approach. “

After sea trials, Gabart’s first race with SVR-Lazartigue will be the Jaques Vabre transatlantic, which will start from Le Havre on November 7th. Next year will be the Route du Rhum, constituting the Ultims solo round the world race in 2023.

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