Groupama 3 – Halfway there
The construction of Groupama 3 got underway at the Multiplast yard some nine months ago. Groupama 3, is the 6th maxi-multihull nearly 100 feet (30 m) long to have been built by the yard since the year 2000. At the time of writing, mid-September 2005, the yard is halfway through the maxi-multi build process, the assembly of the main hull and forebeam being scheduled for the end of October.
But in order to get to the assembly stage, which will make the true scale of the multihull apparent – her beam of 75 feet (22,60 m) making her the widest trimaran in the world – a number of stages have been successfully completed by the Multiplast prototypists. The yard has made the pre-forms, the moulds, draped and oven-cured the 2 central half-hulls and fitted the bulkheads.
Construction of the moulds and floats, fore- and aft beams were also started up, together with the digital milling of the dagger board form. Gilles Ollier : « ...building a large yacht is a puzzle. In order to meet deadlines, we have to optimise activity and organise the workloads in the workshops and the ovens... ». Franck Cammas, Groupama's skipper : « ...I congratulate Gilles Ollier and his team. We are on schedule and everything continues to run smoothly... ».
Experience unique in the world
No other shipyard in the world has produced as many maxi-mulithulls in such a short time, realising boats which have become role-models in terms of performance and reliability. Groupama 3 is the second maxi-trimaran to be built by Multiplast. Project Manager for Groupama 3, Yann Penfornis : « ... The first maxi- trimaran we built was the Van Peteghem / Lauriot-Prévost design, Geronimo. She was in the process of being built when the starting shot for The Race was given in 2001. Since then, the number of circumnavigations undertaken by maxi-multihulls has multiplied. The Jules Verne Trophy has been beaten three times. Once by Orange II, current holder of the record in a time of 50days, 16 hours, 20 minutes and 4 seconds, a boat designed by the Gilles Ollier Design Team and built by Multiplast. We have acquired a great deal of experience over this course, which no doubt explains why the Groupama team and their architects, Lauriot-Prévost/Van Peteghem once again, commissioned us to build the boat. We are proud of ourselves... ».
Whilst building sophisticated boats is at the heart of what Multiplast is all about, the yard's expertise with composite materials and its unique savoir-faire in their application have contributed to their gaining the trust of industrial undertakings. Tahlès has been commissioning Multiplast for several years now to produce all-carbon spheres for helicopter flight simulators, components which are more than 23 ft (7 m) high for a circumference of 26 ft (8 m). Just with racing prototypes, complying with weight studies is extremely tough and extreme precision is required in the assembly process, to within a millimetre or two.
Airbus, another leader in the aeronautical field, is also one of the yard's clients. Large diameter carbon components have been produced by the Vannes-based yard for wind tunnel testing. Gilles Ollier : « ...Not that many European companies have the skills and facilities required to produce large scale composite units. We appreciate having been identified as able to do so and that our quality procedures satisfy stringent industrial requirements... ».
Racing and cruising
The expertise and references of the Multiplast / Gilles Ollier Design Team combination have their roots in yacht racing. But as sailing enthusiasts, and particularly enthusiastic about multihulls, they have always been particularly attentive to what could be transposed into cruising. Ten years ago, an 82 ft (25 m) oe off long cruising catamaran by the name of 'Magic Cat' came out of the Multiplast shed. She is still the fastest charter boat in the world. And even after 100 000 nautical miles, including one circumnavigation, she has not required any intervention on the part of the yard since she was first launched.
Having learnt so much from that multihull and with the construction of so many racing yachts, both architects and builder were perfectly able to satisfy the design brief of demanding clients. Georges Benarroch could not find what he was looking for among the production series catamarans available. Turning to the Gilles Ollier Design Team / Multiplast yard, ExclusivE Marine came into being. ExclusivE Marine is the entity in charge of marketing the first boat – the ExclusivE 72 - resulting from the creative process driven by the Gilles Ollier Design Team. She is a semi-custom built, top-of-the-range catamaran measuring 72 feet (22 m) long. Multiplast will be building a small series of this boat.