The Hydroptère project was an extraordinary story spanning almost twenty-five years and one of VPLP’s oldest collaborations. Managed by Alain Thébault, working tirelessly in the wake of Eric Tabarly, the project was first discussed back in the 1980s. However it took until 1994 for the Hydroptère to be finally commissioned. Originally the idea was to build a foiling tall ship that could break ocean sailing records. Over time, however, the goal of the project shifted towards setting sailing-speed records.
This objective was achieved in September 2009 when she broke the symbolic 50-knot barrier, sustaining an average speed of 51.36 knots over a stretch of 500 metres… and briefly exceeding 55 knots. In 2013 Hydroptère returned to her initial vocation, setting the Los Angeles–Honolulu record. After resting for several years in Hawaii, she came to the attention of a Franco-American team which is currently preparing new projects for her.
For VPLP the Hydroptère has been a fascinating project and an extraordinary testing ground for experimental research into how foils behave at very high speeds.