A new giant catamaran at the Multiplast shipyard
Although the fact that Multiplast was to build a new maxi multihull has been known since last year, no detailed information had seeped through since then. Today Multiplast reveals the first images of the giant and the philosophy behind its construction, in its brand new production unit located in Vannes.
Four years ago, the Gilles Ollier Design Team gave birth to three catamarans, sisterships 110 feet (33.40 m) long, namely Club Med, Innovation Explorer, Team Adventure. It was where an exciting new adventure began. Working on these enormous boats was all the more difficult a challenge, because "The Race" was the first non-stop race around the world on machines of this type. The architects worked intensively, discovering speeds never before attainted on ocean-racing multihulls
(more than 40 knots / 74 k/h). These three boats took the top three places.
When Bruno Peyron asked Multiplast to come up with a boat which was even bigger than the three sisterships, the Gilles Ollier Design Team got their heads down and set to work with the same enthusiasm, taking an extremely important extra factor into account for the success of the project: experience.
Gilles Ollier : "...Four years ago, we entered totally unknown territory. Since then we have had feedback from five circumnavigations one machines built by the yard...".
Multiplast is currently completing the construction of this big new multihull, designed and built for ocean racing and records, including circumnavigations.
Gilles Ollier, architect and company director, sets out a few of his thoughts on this racing yacht which will be the 5th maxi multihull to come out of the Multiplast sheds since 2000.
Gilles Ollier interview
Why a catamaran?
Gilles Ollier. First of all, that's what the skipper asked for. But also because our race results and latest studies lead us to suggest this configuration, in view of the sailing programme the boat is built for. The catamaran option was retained as for the same level of power, a catamaran is longer. Remember that length is an essential factor when it comes to average speed.
Generally speaking, we have built a bigger boat, finer and higher above the water than the "Club Med" generation to prevent the boat from being slowed down by the waves. She is also stiffer so that the sail plan can be more efficient.
What is the leading philosophy of this new boat?
GO. Our philosophy remains the same as for the other boats designed for the first edition of The Race – dependability above all else, followed by speed and manoeuvrability. As for dependability, we carried out in-depth studies into structure and worked in association with two groups of engineers, namely Hervé Devaux Structures (HDS) and the Ecole Centrale de Nantes (ECN) which used different software so that we would have two sets of data. Speed was not cast aside, as when you're racing, it is an obvious factor. Lastly, we aimed to design a simple and easy boat to sail.
Does the boat remain on a human scale?
Manoeuvrability is of great importance. Whilst is might be easy to control effort during the study period, when you are out at sea, man's strength remains the same, whatever the size of the boat. The Gilles Ollier Design Team had to avoid designing a monster which would be impossible for a crew of 10-15 to handle.
With Club Med, which had well scaled fittings, we were pleasantly surprised that she turned out to be easier to handle than we had imagined. Given our experience and technological developments, B1 (the boat's code name) should be every bit as easy to handle.
Take the sails for example, for all they are much bigger on B1, their weight is very close to those of the "Club Med" generation, thanks to new more reliable materials, which are light and water-repellent. Moreover, we have used the biggest hand winches on the market which, in the space of four years, produce 25% more effort with the same technology.
What speeds do you hope to reach with this boat?
Although speed is an important element for a racing boat, we devoted much more time concentrating on average rather than maximum speed. With the old generation, top speed was around 43 knots, whereas the potential of this new catamaran is in excess of 45 knots*. But we are not encouraging ourselves to push the boat above 40 knots, as beyond speed becomes dangerous. Never the less, the 700 miles (1296 km) per day threshold should be exceeded with this catamaran.
We have tried to produce a versatile boat, improving performance in light and medium air. Intermediate weather systems are relatively numerous and complex when sailing round the world. Current average speed for a maxi multihull circumnavigating the planet is slightly above 18 knots.
* Absolute world speed record under sai : 46.52 knots (86.15 k/h)
How did the construction go?
Everything ran smoothly, without any major problem, largely due to Multiplast's unique experience in the production of large carbon composite components. In-house industrial type organisation is perfectly well run in, with the savoir-faire and expertise acquired throughout 20 years working as a close-knit team, totally focused on the project underway. As a result, Multiplast has been able to be very reactive and build a unit of this size in a little more than a year, whilst assuring permanent quality control upon reception of the raw materials, throughout the manufacturing process and during load tests prior to sea trials. A true corporate culture enabling us to master key elements such as sticking to a schedule and quality.
B1 is at the finishing stage in Multiplast brand new production unit comprising 3000 m² of air-conditioned shed by the water's edge.
Gilles Ollier Design Team 2003.Gilles Ollier, Yann Penfornis, Franck Martin, Jack Michal, Alan Cattelliot.
Multiplast & Gilles Ollier Design Team markers
Catamaran Jet Services V / Two-times trans-Atlantic record holder for 11 years (1989/2001) in 6 d 13 h 03 mn 32 s
Catamaran Commodore Explorer / 1st winner of the Jules Verne Trophy (1993) in 79 d 6 h 15 mn
Catamaran Club Med / 1st in The Race 2001/ Fastest circumnavigation under sail in 62 d 06 h 56 mn 33 s. First sail boat to sail more than 600 miles in 24h (625.7 & 655.2 miles).
Catamaran Maiden 2 / 24-hour record under sail (2002) with 694.78 miles. Average 28.95 knots
Catamaran Orange / Holder of the Jules Verne Trophy (2002) in 64 d 08 h 37 mn 24 s
Free of rights high res photos and illustrations for press near Windevent