As soon as the weather forecasts present an opportune window, the crew of Hydroptère, a hydrofoil sailboat designed by French yachtsman Alain Thébault, will set sail from Los Angeles with plans to crush the trans-Pacific record to Honolulu.
To do so, however, this boat will have to average greater than 17.21 knots over the 2215 mile course… and this boat can do 17 knots without even thinking about it. In fact, Hydroptère is the fastest sailboat on the planet. On December 21, 2008, the Hydroptère briefly reached 56.3 knots (104.3 km/h; 64.8 mph) near Fos-sur-Mer. The following year, she broke the 50 knot barrier for a nautical mile with a speed of 50.17 knots (92.91 km/h; 57.73 mph) in Hyères, France.
The big question is, can she keep it together without capsizing or having some sort of catastrophic mechanical failure over the entire race course? Let’s hope they do because the video they’ll shoot, although will be in French, will be spectacular to watch.
Here’s some recent video of this beast to get an idea what we’re talking about…