The trimaran that, with Thomas Coville at the helm, has just beaten the record set by François Joyon is no ordinary machine. She is nothing less than a legend of multihull sailing.
Designed by VPLP and launched on 22 July 2001 in Vannes, Brittany, she started her career as Geronimo. She was the first maxi-trimaran of a new generation, a prototype skippered by Olivier de Kersauson measuring 34 metres long and weighing 20 tonnes.
With her centreboard hull longer than her side floats, she was born to be a planer. To quote her first skipper, her bulky bows and high float beams made sure she didn’t dig in and gave her plenty of confidence to face heavy weather.
Thirty months after launching, on 29 April 2004, Geronimo and her crew of eleven seized the Jules Verne Trophy in exactly 63 days, 13 hours and 59 minutes. After adding a series of records to the trophy cabinet, especially in the Pacific, she was put up for sale in 2006 and laid up in Brest (France).
In 2013, Thomas Coville contacted VPLP Design with the intention of giving Geronimo a new lease of life. Together we looked long and hard at the project and reached the conclusion that, yes, after an extensive refit she would be not only suitable for solo sailing but also a competitive member of the current – and future – Ultimate class.
In the last thirteen years the maxi-multihull philosophy has given rise to the Ultimates, a steep development curve where planing is only one component in the quest for high performance.
An astonishing weight reduction of five tonnes is just one of a series of radical changes:
- New centre-hull features a raked bow to improve wave penetration, a flush deck throughout, and comprehensive helm protection.
- Float bows have been remodelled in the spirit of the centre-hull’s forward section.
- Mast has been set further aft, the sail plan raked, reefs stacked and foresails adapted for solo sailing.
- Six appendages (1 centreboard, 2 foils, 3 rudders) replace the original two (centreboard and single rudder), and the rudders of the floats and the foils are now load-bearing to reduce stress at high speeds.
By arriving on 25 December 2016, Thomas Coville not only smashes the solo round-the-world record but also beats by nearly 15 days the Jules Verne Trophy record set by Geronimo back in 2013.
This feat confirms VPLP’s long-held belief that leading-edge design expertise now makes it perfectly possible to maintain the fleet of maxi-multihulls at the highest level of performance.
Recycling an abandoned boat into a record-breaking thoroughbred is a value-adding process which has given a very satisfying taste to this victory.
Thank you Thomas, thank you Sodebo, loyal sponsor, and thank you all the people involved in these marvellous records!
more info …. vplp.fr/en