Catamaran

20 years of Open 60’ multihulls

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Greed for speed!

Genetically marked by their incredible search for ultimate speed, these violent and gracious machines will leave the media stage as they entered: flat out!
Over 20 years, these overpowered acrobats have dared to try everything and have shattered all the known (or supposed) limits under sail. These shooting stars are preparing for their final seasons’ racing; there is still time to watch the show!   

But where do these iconoclasts come from?


The family tree leading to this apogee is complex; the recipe for the 60’ trimarans’ perfection comes from a fertile cauldron fed by hundreds of often anonymous riggers, racers, developers, architects and technicians. The recurrent theme in their story is therefore a subjective recollection; I hope I will not overexpose certain of them and will try not to be unfair to others. 

Ocean surfers


Towards the middle of the 80s, we witnessed a proliferation of audacious architectural initiatives, Derek Kelsall’s trimarans appeared to be too sensible, Dick Newick’s creations seemed almost classical, and a handful of young architects wanted to try out everything. GORDANO GOOSE, built in 1981 by Nigel Irens, made the transition: it resembled a Newick, but the slim central hull, the continuous structure of the crossbeams and the volume of the floats announced the next generation. Boosted into Formula 40, it was to be moreover one of the first trimarans to (nearly) sail on one float. Before it, there was THREE LEGS OF MANN, then VSD, MOXIE, ROYALE; after it, APRICOT and PARAGON!
From 82 to 86, Etevenon’s Rhum left the field open for research, Horaces and Curiaces (catamarans and trimarans) were slugging it out at the top. WILLIAM SAURIN (25.9m Kelsall/Eugène Riguidel trimaran) and ROYALE (25.9m Le Graal/Loïc Caradec catamaran) were seen as excessive! Above all, they had reached the technological limits of an era. Ocean racing was looking for its format, and the victory of a 50-footer (UMUPRO JARDIN/Yvon Fauconnier) in the 84 English Transat gave attentive observers something to think about!
Meanwhile, the excesses of the 40’ Class, which had abandoned ocean racing for inshore events, opened other perspectives to the architects and offered them a wonderful field for experimentation. The creativity of Gino Morelli, Marc van Peteghem and Vincent Lauriot Prévost transformed the trimaran platform and stifled the development of catamarans, the death knell was sounded: BISCUIT CANTREAU, the visionary, foretold GROUPE PIERRE 1er and RMO. Another overpowered platform-concept: Dick Newick’s OCEAN SURFER! In 1987, the magician played a master card, which passed relatively unnoticed, but brought together numerous elements anticipating the future, including its rotating, tilting wing mast and an overall design concentrating exclusively on power and speed: the accommodation had disappeared.

Those who showed the way


The demonstration given by APRICOT (Irens) in the 1985 Course de l'Europe removed the last ...

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