Saturday, November 27

The Ultim 32/23 show on the 15th Transat Jacques Vabre

Vigo (Pontevedra)



Few, but impressive, the Ultim 32/23 flyers. Three of them, «Gitana 17», «Actual Leader 2» (ex – «Macif») and «Sodebo Ultim´3» have already been browsing for a few years, at the moment their optimizations are “version 2.0” with new appendices, improvements for flight and maneuvering. And two of them have been put in the water this year 2021: «Banque Populaire XI» and «SVR Lazartigue» -the most radical as it does not have a cabin on deck-.

François Gabart spoke of the incredible speeds of the «SVR Lazartigue» with which he will compete in the Transat Jacques Vabre. In addition to the first transatlantic regatta on this giant ship, he dreams of setting the record for the longest distance traveled in 24 hours. And he would also like to break the North Atlantic record below three and a half days.

“We did a peak of 47 knots and some batches, but the figure that I like the most is 42 knots in one hour. What we are looking for is to be able to maintain these speeds for a long time. It is exceptional, because if in the future we manage to maintain these speeds for hours, or even days, 42 miles in 24 hours equals more than 1,000 miles a day.

From a sporting point of view, the ambition is to go around the world as quickly as possible and break records. Since the trimaran was launched on July 22, we have made 9 navigations, we have traveled some 3,000 miles and we have exceeded the speed limit of 47.7 knots (almost 90 km / h). The boat is working well, we are very satisfied, there is potential, but we still have a lot of work to do to be ready for the next races. I am looking forward to seeing all the new challenges that await us ”.

This new Ultim 32/23, in which 150.00 hours of work have been invested, weighs about 15 tons, and each one of the foils only 400 kg each; foils that will have to support the entire weight of the sailing boat and keep it out of the water.

The problems of “cavitation. One team that is very concerned with the high speeds reached by the new Ultim 32/23 is the «Gitana 17». Sailing above 40 knots of speed is causing the appearance of “cavitation” effects in the foils located in each of the trimaran floats.

In the words of the skipper Charles Caudrelier and the engineer Sébastien Saninson: “A foil supports the weight of 17 tons of the Gitana 16 trimaran. The load distribution between the foils, if sailing on starboard tack, the leeward foil supports 13 tons of weight, and the float rudder 1 ton. The central foils of the daggerboard 13 tons, and the central rudder foil 500 kg. Longitudinal stability is controlled by the foils of the daggerboard.

With 25 knots of real wind intensity and an angle of 110 degrees, it reaches 44 knots of speed. One of the problems that we encounter when we fly is that the boats move faster and faster. Today we are reaching speeds that are becoming problematic as we are entering the realms of cavitation. “

Cavitation is defined as: Formation of vapor or gas bubbles within a liquid, caused by the variations it experiences in its pressure. “At a certain point, the velocity accelerates enormously through the appendix, creating a depression at a certain point, and when this depression is too deep, the water can turn into gas.

At this point cavitation can occur, which is destructive. When these pockets of vapor or gas form in the appendages, they implode and hollow out.

One of the things we have worked on a lot has been to manufacture an appendage that is capable of delaying cavitation as much as possible and to design a highly optimized appendage that has an operating speed range of, say, more than 10 knots.

Things start to get quite complicated because you have to look for profiles that work at low speed and at high speed. This can imply different geometries, as we said before, or different profiles ”.

This phenomenon causes a great deterioration in the upper surface of the foils, it is not an exclusive problem in the «Gitana 17» but it affects all the other Ultim 32/23.

Armel le Cléac’h, along with Kevin Escoffier, will debut his new “Maxi Banque Populaire XI” in transoceanic regattas, it is true that he has started the season on the right foot by winning the Desafie Azimut a few weeks ago. Trimaran designed by VPLP and built by the CDK Technologies shipyard. “It has the ability to” fly “, and to stay in this state thanks to its appendages and its configurations. The fineness of the forms is striking, the cabin, very innovative. Extensive research has been carried out to improve aerodynamics; The foils are about twice the size of previous generations. They have been designed to increase flight stability, in order to maintain a high average speed and better adapt to changing coastal conditions.

The Banque Populaire team did not start from scratch in the creation of this new trimaran, there was a previous one, the «Banque Populaire IX», which unfortunately ended up destroyed during the Route du Rhum in 2018. “Compared to the previous version, we have advanced in all areas with this Maxi Banque Populaire XI. We know that it will be faster, more efficient, more marine”; would comment Ronan Lucas -Director of the Banque Populaire Team-.

Everyone knows that this optimization phase can be marked by unforeseen events that must be faced. This was the case, at the end of September, during a training session. Armel would comment: “… at night, we noticed a break in the drift and we set out to understand what could have happened. Before the trimaran was launched in May, a new spare was manufactured that could be installed a fortnight ago. It is one of the strengths of the team to be able to anticipate and react quickly ”.

“Actual Leader 2” (ex – “Macif”) is the oldest Ultim 32/23 in the fleet, it was launched in 2015 under the colors of “Macif”; but his employer Yves Le Blevec knew that with this trimaran he could do better than with the previous «Ultim Actual Leader» (ex «Sodebo Ultim 2»).

Le Blevec will be accompanied by Anthony Marchand during the Transat Jacques Vabre. In two months, both sailors have accumulated many miles: training, Rolex Fastnet Race, sailing in A Dos, speed tests with François Gabart’s team … “We learn every day!”, Smiled Yves Le Blevec

Yves Le Blevec: “We sail with the other Ultims: the confrontation allows us to immediately see the areas in which we can progress. The training sessions with SVR Lazartigue have been extremely instructive. Although their flight time will be longer than ours, they are always discovering the ship and the adjustments that it generates on board these very complex machines Today, in maneuvers we are more comfortable and we are faster.

The duo is very well established. I had no doubts about it. Anthony brings to the team all his sports culture: his experience, his know-how, his dynamism, his performance analysis. This perfectly complements the other technical skills of the team. We needed this contribution, it is very positive! ”.

«Sodebo Ultim´3», the maxi trimaran that carries the cabin forward of the mast, which will be manned by Thomas Coville) winner of this regatta in 2017 together with Jean-Luc Nélias) and Thomas Rouxel, has also passed through the shipyard to install larger, retractable rudders before participating in La Ruta del Café. Since mid-July they have been training at A Dos until the end of this month of October.

“We had analyzed that, to have better control of the boat at sea, we needed bigger appendages. And that started with the rudders in the sense that, to go fast on these boats, you have to fly high enough, but also flat. This requires rudders that control the ship in heavy seas and at very high speeds “, he continued the pattern of the «Sodebo Ultim’3». “Last winter, around the world, we thought we needed to protect our appendages more when they were not in use, which requires the ability to retract them.”

The result has been the design and installation of new rudders on the floats that are approximately one meter larger and retractable – liftable – while the central rudder is also larger.

The “formula one of the sea” not only has to fight against the state of the sea and the meteorological conditions, but their high speeds require permanent analysis to improve the boats and have a good number of engineers within the teams who obtain the best solutions.

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