The captain of a huge “flying” boat that has smashed world records for speed on water now plans to sail round the world in under 40 days.
Frenchman Alain Thebault, skipper of “Hydroptere,” a revolutionary sailing boat that looks more like a plane, says his next project is to circumnavigate the globe in half the time of the Jules Verne novel “Around the World in 80 Days…”
“Hydroptere,” currently the world’s fastest sailing boat, gets its speed from foils, or underwater “wings” that lift the boat and enable it to “fly” several meters above the water. This innovation, which uses principles similar to those of airplanes, avoids drag and allows the 18- by 24-meter boat to achieve previously unimaginable speeds…
“When you sail at very high speeds, around 100 km/hour, the water becomes like a rock,” he said. “So yes, it is dangerous.Sailing at very high speeds is similar to high altitude for alpinists — up there, you have to spend the least time possible.”
Thebault and his team rebuilt “Hydroptere” [after a 2008 crash] and in late 2009 it became the fastest boat on the planet, traveling at over 50 knots over 500 meters and one nautical mile.
Thebault is currently building a larger version of the boat, “Hydroptere Maxi,” to make his attempt at crossing the world in under 40 days…
But before all that, the maverick sailor, who admits this project is both his profession and obsession, has another goal: He will attempt to cross the Pacific in three days in 2011.
Good luck, dude. I’ve had close friends with some experience at high speeds on water and the biggest risk is the one you never see. What may be floating in the water in your path.