Mallorca by Land, Air and Sea

Hydros announces that construction has begun on its yacht for the Little America's Cup

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

The catamaran that will compete in the Little America's Cup under the Swiss flag in September 2013 is currently under construction at the Decision SA shipyard. It will benefit from innovative Swiss technology that has never previously been used on a yacht.

The Hydros project is entering a new phase as construction begins on the catamaran that will be entered for the Little America's Cup. The catamaran was designed by architectural firm VPLP, which is working exclusively with Hydros on the project, with the aim of winning the legendary race to be held in the United Kingdom in September 2013.  

Two versions of the catamaran are being built by the Décision SA shipyard in Ecublens, so that the sailing team will be able to test and compare different configurations of foils and centerboards. The construction process is innovative and completely new: both catamarans will be built using thin ply technology (TPT), a technique invented on the shores of Lake Geneva that has already been used in Formula 1 and on a number of wing masts for the forthcoming America’s Cup, but which has never previously been employed in yacht construction.

As Gilles Rocher, Head of Marketing at North TPT, explains: "This process allows us to use exactly the right amount of material in the right place and in the right way, thereby optimizing the yacht’s structure and markedly improving her performance."

Meanwhile Bertrand Cardis, Head of the Décision SA shipyard, is of the opinion that "the construction method has more in common with aeronautics than traditional racing yachts. We fine-tuned this technique when we built the second plane for Bertrand Piccard, and we are now going to use it in the construction of the hulls, beams and wing mast of the Hydros catamaran."

The first boat – a masterpiece of high technology – will be launched at the end of the year, and the second version will follow two months later. The name of its skipper, an internationally famous sailing champion, will be announced at the end of the summer break. The selection procedure for the second yacht will begin at the end of the summer, with the aim of recruiting a first-rate Swiss crew.

"This is a thrilling project because it brings together so many of the elements we value, such as high technology, competition and the pioneering spirit," says Thierry Lombard, who spearheaded the Hydros project. "We are very proud to be behind the first yacht in history constructed out of TPT. We are delighted to see the project take shape and to be competing in the Little America’s Cup regatta next year."

The Hydros project has three main components: a yacht flying the Swiss flag being entered for the Little America's Cup, the “Défi des Grandes Ecoles” (university challenge) and the catamaran l’Hydroptè, which recently broke the one-hour record on Lake Geneva and achieved the best time since 2007 on the Blue Ribbon course, smashing the record by covering the stretch from Geneva to Le Bouveret in 1 hour 44 minutes.

Right from when it first took place in 1961, the Little America's Cup has symbolized fundamental research and ground-breaking technological development, on a human scale. The yachts, which have a crew of two, must measure a maximum of 7.62 m x 4.20 m, with a sail surface area of no more than 27.8 m2. These restrictions are precisely what makes the class so exciting, since the yacht designers are forced to explore cutting-edge techniques. Furthermore, these boats have been sailing with wing masts for over thirty years!

Switzerland has all the necessary skills at its disposal to win the trophy; our aim is to bring them together to achieve this ambitious objective.

Bernard Schopfer

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 31 July 2012 )