L'Hydroptère.ch to land at Saint-Sulpice

These days, sailing boats fly to reach a stretch of water, and l’Hydroptère.ch is no exception. It has beeen heliported Friday October 8th, at around 14:15, from the boatyard of the company Décision SA to the port of Saint-Sulpice.

L’Hydroptère.ch, the most recent craft in the range, has been designed to explore new architectural concepts and to respond to the many scientific questions arising in relation to the performance of such a sailing craft. Acting as a platform for experimentation, it will enable the testing of its geometry and its behavior in real conditions.

Lake Geneva offers technically challenging and varied sailing conditions. In conditions where the famous “bise” or a strong wind prevail, it’s common to encounter waves of 1.5 meters or higher. As for the breezes, they vary from shore to shore, sometimes from one extreme to the other. This is an ideal proving ground for the crew of skipper Alain Thébault, who will be testing the versatility of the boat, with as the ultimate goal the perfectioning of l’Hydroptère maxi, which is capable of navigating around the world in 40 days.

In order to push back the frontiers of sailing, and to reach impressive speeds, leading-edge research is essential. Several laboratories at EPFL and the Design Team of l’Hydroptère have been working together for several years in many different disciplines. In particular, they had to:

• Calculate the fluid dynamics by applying a digital technique to the phenomenon of high-speed hydrodynamic flows.
• Understand the interaction between the water and the foils – large underwater wings that lift the hull of the trimaran out of the water at high speed.
• Optimize the materials by imparting lightness and adequate resistance, to both beat existing records and to withstand the stress and strain.
• Measure the deformation of its structure by using computer-generated images.

At the beginning of the 1970s, Eric Tabarly had a dream – to make boats fly. l’Hydroptère isn’t subject to Archimedes’ principle, and today it’s the fastest boat in the world, breaking records as in November 2009, when it exceeded the mythical threshold of 50 knots over a nautical mile. In the near future, l’Hydroptère maxi will skim over the oceans of the blue planet, thanks to the scientific experiences conducted on its “little brother” from Saint-Sulpice – l’Hydroptère.ch.

Author: Sandy Evangelista
Source: EPFL