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Experimental sailing craft Hydroptère
Designer(s)VPLP design
Owner(s)Chris Welsh & Gabriel Terrasse

Hydroptère is a French experimental sailing hydrofoil trimaran imagined by the yachtman Éric Tabarly. The Hydroptère project was managed by Alain Thébault, the design done by naval architects VPLP design[1] and the manufacturing by a group of French high-tech companies. Its multihull hydrofoil design allows the sail-powered vessel to reach high speeds on water. The design is based on experience from a range of hydrofoil sailcraft that Thébault built in cooperation with Éric Tabarly since the 1980s. On 5 October 2008 she reached a record speed of 52.86 knots (97.90 km/h; 60.83 mph), however this was over a shorter distance than the 500m necessary to qualify for an official world record.[2] On 21 December 2008, the Hydroptère briefly reached 56.3 knots (104.3 km/h; 64.8 mph)[3] near Fos-sur-Mer, but capsized and turtled shortly thereafter.[4][5]

Launching Hydroptère

On 4 September 2009, the Hydroptère broke the outright world record, sustaining a speed of 52.86 knots (97.90 km/h; 60.83 mph) for 500 m (1,600 ft) in 30 knots (56 km/h; 35 mph) of wind.[6] In November 2009, she broke the 50-knot (93 km/h; 58 mph) barrier for a nautical mile with a speed of 50.17 knots (92.91 km/h; 57.73 mph) in Hyères, France.[7]

Abandonment and sale[edit]

During July 2015, the Hydroptère sailed 2215 nautical miles from Los Angeles to Honolulu and docked in Kewalo Harbor.[8] On 15 March 2016 the Harbor Master posted an "Abandoned Vessel" notice on the Hydroptère[9] which was subsequently sold at auction.[10][11] In June 2019, L'Hydroptère was bought by Chris Welsh (USA) and Gabriel Terrasse (FRA).[12][13] In November 2019, l'Hydroptère was sailed from Honolulu, Hawaii to San Francisco, California by professional sailor Mike Price and a delivery crew so that she could undergo an extensive re-fit.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Projects - VPLP Design".
  2. ^ Matthew, Campbell (12 November 2008). "Flying yacht in battle to crack 50-knot barrier". The Times. London.
  3. ^ Though it was first announced that the ship reached 61 kn: "Pointe de l'Hydroptère à 61 noeuds". YouTube (in French). Archived from the original on 14 July 2012.
  4. ^ "Les données officielles ont été récupérées". L'Hydroptère (in French). 14 January 2009. Archived from the original on 8 October 2010.
  5. ^ "Hydroptere: 61 knots and huge crash with 35-38 knots, gusts over 45". Catamaran Racing. 22 December 2008. Archived from the original on 22 March 2016. Retrieved 19 November 2013.
  6. ^ "WSSR Newsletter No 177. Hydroptere World Records. 23 September 2009". Sail Speed Records. World Sailing Speed Record Council. 23 September 2009.
  7. ^ "Nautical Mile Records". Sail Speed Records. World Sailing Speed Record Council. Retrieved 20 November 2013.
  8. ^ "Finesse Sponsored Hydroptère Arrives in Honolulu".
  9. ^ "Sailing Anarchy Forum post: Hydroptere abandoned - Available for $20,000".
  10. ^ L'Hydroptère sold
  11. ^ "L'hydroptère abandonné, vendu 20.000$". Course au Large (in French). 15 April 2016. Retrieved 23 September 2019.
  12. ^ "L'Hydroptere Le Phoenix". L'Hydroptere 2.0 official website. Retrieved 28 June 2019.
  13. ^ "it lives!". Sailing Anarchy. Retrieved 26 September 2019.
  14. ^ "you say you want a revolution?". Sailing Anarchy. 24 November 2019. Retrieved 3 August 2020.

External links[edit]