International Multihull Boat Show: A successful third edition...
The whole big and beautiful multihull family met up in Lorient for the third edition of the international show reserved for boats with several hulls... Obviously, we were there!
Let's begin with this edition's guests of honour, the famous MOD 70s: impressive, especially when compared to the 'old celebrities', the Golden Oldies, which were nevertheless still just as lively... One thing is certain, between the racing boats from the 70s and those from 2012, there is the same wish for perfection and preparation, and an enormous respect for the sailors who succeed in sailing these thoroughbreds flat out.
As for the new boats, the show's visitors were able to discover for the first time the Neel 45 (see its full test in this edition), which was accepted unanimously. A real success. Another new boat which caught the eyes of the visitors was the Seacart 26. This racing trimaran is a pure pleasure machine. The proof: one evening, the builder came to see us on our stand and proposed a sail on his trimaran (the wind was at that moment gusting to 35 knots)... Philippe Echelle sacrificed himself, and the crack crew didn't return until 9pm, soaked, but happy! A leopard can't change its spots!
The Marsaudon 52 was also present for the first time in public. A powerful boat for ocean cruisers in a hurry. The Nautitech 542 once again caused a stir, with its very nice-looking carbon chimney mast. Those who went for a sail aboard discovered new excitement in a cruising cat. Fountaine-Pajot took advantage of the show to officially name the Sanya 57, whose n°12 is currently under construction. And all this, without mentioning the Dazcat, the Vik, the almost-complete Lagoon range, and all the others that made a success of this 3rd edition, marked unfortunately by gloomy weather.
A bit of bad weather doesn't worry a multihull enthusiast, and nearly 12,000 visitors squeezed onto the pontoons (or into the big tent in the showers...) to discover the fifty or so catamarans afloat, of from 20 to 60 feet, and visit the 'village', which brought together 125 exhibitors, ranging from sailmakers to fittings manufacturers, via insurances, architects and of course, the charter companies... This third edition has once again shown the level of interest in multihulls from a cosmopolitan population, as 35% of the visitors were foreigners, more than half of them from Europe... A final important point - 33% of the visitors came with the aim of validating a purchase project. We can now therefore make a date for the fourth edition of the International Multihull Boat Show, which will be held from 10th to 14th April 2013. And in accordance with the organisers' choice to alternate between the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts, we will be meeting at La Grande Motte...
The race: Veni, vidi, vici...*
(*we came, we saw, we beat them!)
But all this was just a pretext for the famous MultiCup that the organisers had the brilliant idea of launching. At the Paris Boat Show, a rumour started to do the rounds that 6 Multi 23s would be present at Lorient, to allow the exhibitors to race on equal terms, and finally find out who was the best. We don't have to explain that in the warm and in front of their computers, the 'world champions' of insincerity (and it must be admitted, we weren't the last) threw out the challenges. We would see what we would see...
But faced with the Multi 23s, these particularly powerful trimarans designed by VPLP, and the really poor weather, there were fewer ambitious sailors... As for us, well we had announced just about everywhere that we were going to win, so we couldn't turn back... However, the cold (around 12°C), and the wind (a steady 25 knots, gusts of at least 30, but from my point of view it must have easily been 45...) were not very motivating! On the Friday, the weather conditions became almost manageable, and the organisers announced the possibility of sailing a race. At the start: the VPLP crew, that of the organisers, the Swiss mercenaries, and the Multihulls World crew, reinforced by the builder of the Seacart 26... Sailing a 23-foot trimaran in such conditions really isn't a bed of roses! We had brought the water bombs to keep our competitors at a distance, but we weren't even able to get them out: aboard these Multi 23s, you don't stay still for half a second, especially when the wind freshens, freshens, freshens... In short, we were in a real race, and couldn't even cheat to win. Not easy. Fortunately, divine justice exists: the VPLP crew having decided to check their structural calculations by hitting the pontoon at the start, under sail, meant that there were then only three of us on the line. At least we would finish on the podium! On the line we weren't bad, but...we weren't brilliant either: the other two were ahead of us. Buoy followed buoy and we started to catch up, especially as we were the only ones to dare to fly the gennaker in 30 knots of wind. And then the miracle happened: the crew of mercenaries lost their mast 100 metres from the line, whilst the organisers' Multi 23 set off flat out...towards the open sea, without seeing the finish line, which we crossed in first position, with a comfortable lead over our unhappy adversaries. The arrival on the pontoon was triumphal, and all the other builders started to regret not having raced... We strutted about, soaked, but happy: we had survived!!!
As the hazards of racing had decimated two of the four boats made available to us, the places were sought-after the next day, when, as the weather conditions had become more manageable, the pseudo big shots dared to leave their stands and go sailing. This time the Outremer crew faced the Lagoons. As the boss of Outremer is a sensible man, the boat left confidently with Seb Audignane aboard (quite simply one of the best helmsmen in the world)! The Lagoon crew was very laid-back, but this would not last. On the pontoon, we were laughing in advance, knowing well what they were going to experience, even though the wind had become a light breeze compared to the storm, or should I say hurricane, we had had to face the previous day.
The two crews had so much fun, they stayed on the water all afternoon, and didn't give us the opportunity to sail again. A certain Yann, on the Lagoon boat, flatly refused to return until they had won at least one leg. They therefore had to start three, and we suspect the opposing crew let them win, just so they could get back ashore and warm up again...
And the best-looking are:
On the Saturday evening, at the evening reserved for the exhibitors, we had to declare a winner. A clever calculation, based on time differences at the finish, difficulties linked to the weather conditions and other strange ratings allowed a fairly reliable classification to be established, which suited us perfectly: WE BEAT THEM! As hands down winner, the Multihulls World crew was presented with the winner's cup, as well as the prizes which went with it, from the waterproof iPad case to the bottle of champagne, via the indestructible Patton watch. The Patton is a watch to meet all challenges, as one of them was fitted under Sébastien Josse's 60 foot IMOCA, another was submerged in 1000 metres of water, and both of them always show the exact time. Will the magazine's watch survive the hectic life of the journalists (sea tests, dives, running and regattas)? We'll keep you posted!
And we promise to put our trophy up for grabs next year... A word to the wise!