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Published on May 2nd, 2022 | by Editor

MOD70 Phaedo: World’s coolest yachts

Published on May 2nd, 2022 by Editor -->

Yachting World has been asking top sailors and marine industry gurus to choose the coolest and most innovative yachts of our times, and British offshore racer Brian Thompson nominates MOD70 Phaedo. Here’s the report :

I’d choose the MOD70 without too much doubt because the boat is so beautifully thought out. It is a great combination of speed, safety (even though four of them have capsized!) and reliability. Of the seven that were built, I have sailed four of them, for hundreds of thousands of miles.

They were born from the development class the ORMA 60s. The best people of the ORMAs decided to built a boat that could go round the world, but was stronger, with 10% higher scantlings on all the structure, and having that buffer meant it is bulletproof. You can absolutely hammer it across the Atlantic then hose if off and go sailing again. The MOD70 is so well designed and engineered and is so rugged.

It also has the least preparation hours per sailing hour. With the Ultimes, there are a huge amount of preparation hours for every sailing hour, but these you can sail all year round.

phaedo sailboat

MOD70 Phaedo Stats rating: Top speed: 40 knots LOA: 21.2m Launched: 2011 Berths: 2 Price: €1m Adrenalin factor: 99%

For Yachting World’s list of cool boats, click here .

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Tags: Brian Thompson , coolest yachts , MOD70 class , Phaedo , Yachting World

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Phaedo3 smashes fourth sailing world record

The multihull yacht Phaedo3 , led by Lloyd Thornburg, recently smashed three long-standing  Caribbean sailing speed records in just three days. Now the high-performance yacht has broken another world sailing yacht from the Caribbean island of Antigua to Newport , Rhode Island.

Team Phaedo arrived in Newport 16 hours faster than the previous record holder, which was Tracy Edwards’ 110 maxi-catamaran Maiden II . The new record is just three days, five hours, 55 minutes and 12 seconds.

Phaedo3 's skipper, Brian Thompson described the trip northwards from Antigua.

“We launched out of Antigua on port gybe with a full main and J1 an hour before sunset on Tuesday", says Phaedo3 's Skipper, Brian Thompson, describing the trip to Antigua. "Within minutes, we gybed and remained on starboard for the next couple of days, blasting along at over 30 knots on flat seas."

Phaedo3 lucked out with great weather in its first 24 hours of the trip, travelling an amazing 654 miles. Weather patches and storms rolling by the next day only helped the journey, as Brian Thompson reports, "We squeezed between a high pressure system and storms to our west over Florida, where we got a nice slingshot northwards. Four hours of total becalming then six hours of dense fog were followed by a lovely sail into Newport for a fantastic midnight finish”.

On 24 April, Phaedo3 finished the Guadeloupe to Antigua Race in one hour and 27 minutes. This bested the previous record set by sailing superyacht Mari-Cha IV by a whole 51 minutes.

The next day, on 25 April, Phaedo3 set a new record for sailing around Antigua , circling the island in only three hours 26 minutes and nine seconds. This is more than an hour swifter than the previous record holder, Sojana , who has held a time of four hours, 37 minutes and 43 seconds since 2009.

Then on 26 April, Lloyd Thornbug and his crew set out to break the speed record for sailing the 80-mile course around Redonda. This record was also previously held by Sojana since in 2010. Phaedo3 has set the new record at five hours, 18 minutes and 58 seconds, besting Sojana ’s time by nearly two hours.

Just launched in January 2015, the MOD 70 Phaedo3 is already making quite a name for herself on the racing scene. Phaedo3 is the newest high-performance multihull yacht in yacht owner Llyod Thornburg’s stable.

He also owns the orange-hull Gunboat catamaran Phaedo . Beyond her racing prowess, the original Phaedo stands out for her slick interior with carbon fibre surfaces as far as the eye can see. Both are named in honour of the book Phaedo , by the philosopher Plato, and both yachts brandish a pirate logo.

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Phaedo Mod 70

Discussion in ' Multihulls ' started by Doug Lord , Feb 22, 2015 .

Doug Lord

Doug Lord Flight Ready

Here are some great shots of the boat as it nearly cuts in half the un-official round Antigua record: From the front page of SA: The Michel Desjoyeaux-led MOD 70 crew of Lloyd Thornburg’s Phaedo^3 was loosely aware of the Farr 115 Sojana’s long-standing 4h37m43s ’round Antigua record when they went out for their first practice sail today; they put the pedal down on the trimaran and shattered it to pieces. Unofficially, the new record is 2h44m15s, and the top speed the crew remembers seeing is somewhere around 35 knots…unofficially. Big thanks to Team Phaedo/Ocean Images for the beautiful aerial shots; here’s another one of her coming right at ya! click for the full majesty of these pictures:  

Attached Files:

Ei2g8469.jpeg, phaedo mod 70.jpeg.

Phaedo M70 More pictures here:  
Phaedo ^3 Heres a video tour of Phaedo ^3:  
Phaedo^3 From Scuttlebutt: (February 24, 2015; Day 2) – Lloyd Thornburg’s MOD 70 Phaedo³ finished the 600-mile RORC Caribbean 600 in Antigua at 20:35:30 AST in an elapsed time of 33 hours, 35 minutes, 30 seconds, smashing the Multihull record by 6 hours, 35 minutes and 35 seconds which had held since the inaugural race in 2009. For the last six editions the record set by John Burnie and Claude Thelier on ORMA 60 trimaran, Region Guadeloupe (40 hours 11 mins 5 secs) had remained unbeaten. Click headline for full report.  
Phaedo^3 Phaedo training video:  


Corley epoxy coated

Another record smashed by Phaedo3: Back in March 2003, Steve Fossett set a record for sailing around the island of St Maarten. He circumnavigated the island in 2 hours 4 minutes and 36 seconds. It has remained unbroken until today. Lloyd Thornburg and his crew aboard Phaedo3, whilst training for the up coming regatta, Les Voiles de St Barth, decided to see if they could challenge this record. Phaedo3 had some official help from Alfred Koolen and Stuart Knaggs of the St Martin Yacht Club who set up an official start line and timing. Lloyd along with his crew of Brian Thompson, Miles Seddon, Warren Fitgerald, Sam Bason, Sam Goodchild, Fraser Brown and Paul Allen broke this record and set a new time of 1 hour, 30 minutes and 19 seconds.  
More records being broken in Antigua by Phaedo3. A recent press release by the team:  


rcnesneg Senior Member

Hahahahaha... Those guys... They're just smashing records. All of them. Left and right. Seriously cool!  


semelis Junior Member

Them and the Lending Club. Nice to see those tris beeing used  
After a brief haulout at Newport shipyard Phaedo3 has returned to record breaking this time setting a new record time of 56 minutes 33 seconds from the Mount Gay Rum Around Jamestown Record. The new benchmark was set on June 27, 2015. Phaedo3 broke the previous time set by GC32 Argo by 1 minute 55 seconds.  
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How many records has she broken this year? Is there a list somewhere? Another really good video!  

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Phaedo Takes Line Honors in RORC Caribbean 600

  • By Sailing World Staff
  • Updated: February 22, 2017

RORC 600

Phaedo3 held on to win the battle of the trimarans, just 12 minutes ahead of Giovanni Soldini’s Italian MOD70, Maserati . The high-speed battle saw the lead change hands at least four times during the race. The experimental semi-foiling Maserati showed incredible speed on a reach and it took a momentous effort from Phaedo3 ‘s well established team to hold off the challenge. There was high drama at Guadeloupe with vicious squalls and heroics from Maserati’s crew diving into the water to free the boat from a fish trap.

Once back on the dock in Antigua, Lloyd Thornburg, Skipper of the American Phaedo3 summed up the race: “ Maserati gave us a heck of a run and it was really tough to stay ahead of a foiling boat. They kept coming at us with more pressure and they definitely have more speed at certain angles. The run down to Redonda was a real nail-biter and we knew that after that, the beat home would be in our favour and to cross the line ahead was just awesome. Every year, I get reminded how insane a race this is and after this race, our navigator Miles Seddon said to me that we have turned the insanity up again this year. You never get used to this race – hanging on reaching at 36 knots, it is just incredible. All of our team had to dig so deep and we love Antigua and had an amazing reception.”

Co-Skipper of Phaedo3 , Brian Thompson commented on the unusual wind direction that had been predicted before the start: “We had a lot more wind speed for the race, which was a surprise. Off Guadeloupe we had huge rain squalls which are really quite dangerous in a MOD70 and we had 30 knots of wind from nowhere and shifting 50 degrees in seconds, with Maserati pushing us all the way. The big gennaker stayed up and we had to put in a few big bare aways to avoid capsize. With the strange wind direction we had to really think on our feet. It was an amazing race with Maserati though and we got away several times, but they always caught us up. Right near the start they went blasting past us flying through the air, hooting and hollering and waving at us. That is what they had come for and they have learnt a lot about foiling a MOD.”

Maserati skipper, Giovanni Soldini was full of praise for both his Maserati team and their rivals Phaedo3 . The Italian MOD70 has an experimental foil enabling them to literally fly when the boat is on starboard, but not when they are on port, enabling them to give Phaedo3 a really close fight.

“Phaedo are a very, very good team. They have known the boat for many years, whereas we are just beginning to get to know ours. We really flew a few times and we were able to play with Phaedo and I am really pleased with my crew as they were fantastic. At the start of the last leg, we were just a minute behind. We have learnt a lot by racing with Phaedo and so we are improving our performance. Our dream was to make a MOD70 fly and in a couple of months we will have foils on both sides and life will be much more simple.”

Maserati’s race was not without incident. “When we were past La Desirade we caught a buoy on the rudder but we didn’t realise until near Barbuda,” explains Soldini. Carlos Hernadez heroically jumped into the water when it was blowing 20 knots and the boat would not stop, so he had to swim very fast!”

rorc 600

Simon & Nancy De Pietro racing C.n.b. Briand 76, Lilla are approaching Guadeloupe and are estimated to be leading IRC One by a slender margin from Theodore Kane, Jr’s Swan 66 Bounty . Three yachts are in a close battle for victory in IRC Two. Dominic Hurndall’s Grand Soleil 43, Jua Kali has taken the normal route on the downwind leg to Guadeloupe. However Ross Applebey’s Scarlet Oyster and Ed Fishwick’s Redshift on El Ocaso passed Montserrat to port. After IRC time correction, there are just seconds separating the three yachts after 330 miles of racing. In IRC Three, Jonty Layfield’s Swan 48 Sleeper X is enjoying a comfortable lead after IRC time correction and by 22 miles on the water from Andy Schell & Mia Karlsson’s swan 48, Isbjorn . Peter Hobbs’ Sigma 38, Sam is approaching the halfway stage in the race and is estimated to be in third in class.

A close battle is raging in the Class40 Division as the three leaders approach the wind shadow of Guadeloupe with barely a mile separating them. Catherine Pourre’s Eärendil is just ahead of Peter Harding’s Phor-ty and both team have chosen to take a line close into Guadeloupe. Halvard Mabire and Miranda Merron’s Campagne de France has chosen to go offshore by approximately 8 miles.

In the battle of the schooners, the 182ft Adela , skippered by Greg Perkins is rounding Iles des Saintes with 220 miles to go. The 162ft schooner Eleonora , skippered by Brendan McCoy is 44 miles behind Adela on the water.

  • More: MOD 70 , News , phaedo , rorc 600 , rorc caribbean 600 , Sailboat Racing , Trimaran
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Team Phaedo Adds Three New Hulls

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The need for sailing at extreme speed under sail has apparently taken a powerful hold on Lloyd Thornburg, Latitude’s friend from Newport Beach, St. Barth and Santa Fe. Yesterday Team Phaedo introduced a new addition to their stable, the MOD70 Phaedo3, for Monday’s start of the RORC Caribbean 600 . Thornburg told the press he’d secretly been trying to put together a MOD70 project for the last two years.

Phaedo3 will be joined at the Antigua starting line of the Caribbean 600 by San Franciscan Peter Aschenbrenner’s Nigel Irens 63-ft trimaran,  Paradox . Both trimarans have a chance to break the course record of 40 hours, 11 minutes set by the ORMA 60 Region Guadeloupe in the inaugural race. As Paradox is a half racer, half cruiser, and Phaedo3 is an all-out racer, the latter has the much better shot at the record.

phaedo sailboat

Both trimarans were built as tamed-down versions of the wildly fast and fragile ORMA 60 trimarans. But it certainly hasn’t seemed to limit their performance much. We sailed aboard Thomas Siebel’s Orion, the only MOD70 on the West Coast, one afternoon on Banderas Bay. In winds of about 20 knots, the trimaran was screaming along at up to 34 knots. We couldn’t believe it.

That’s nothing compared to what Orion crewmembers tell us the MOD70 has done on San Francisco Bay, namely hitting 44 knots! If we’re not mistaken, that’s just a tad faster than was achieved by any of the 72-ft America’s Cup 34 catamarans. And unlike the America’s Cup cats, MOD70 tris aren’t foilers. Then, too, one of the MOD70s flipped in a moderate breeze during a race off Ireland. The video for that is all over the Internet.

Phaedo3 is MOD70 #3, previously known as Fonica when it was campaigned by the great Michel Desjoyeaux. He will be along for the Caribbean 600. The rest of the all-star crew will consist of Brian Thompson, Sam Goodchild, Pete Cumming, Sam Wooga Bason, Warren Fitzgerald and Romain Attanasio.

In just six short years the Caribbean 600, which starts and finishes in Antigua and weaves among a number of islands, has arguably become the world’s best middle distance ocean race.

phaedo sailboat

Latitude readers may remember that Thornburg and crew did an incredible 427 miles in 24 hours during the 2013 Transpac with his orange Gunboat 66 Phaedo, a legitimate cruising catamaran complete with a pizza oven.

Unfortunately, the mast came down the following day in rather mild conditions. Over the next 18 months, she got a fabulous new rig and an extensive makeover in Newport Beach, an area that Lloyd has found to his liking. Lloyd is not new to California, having attended the Art Design College in Pasadena. During that time he sailed a Soling, if we remember correctly, out of Marina del Rey. He’s into a different world now.

The addition of Phaedo3 to Team Phaedo instantly makes Thornburg, who is only in his mid-30s, one of the bigger international players in high speed ocean racing. Good luck, guys!

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Not to be overlooked is the introduction of George David’s daring new Rambler 88, which replaces his Rambler 92 and Rambler 100. It will be a warm-up for her Voiles de St. Barth match-up with Jim Clark’s reportedly $100 million 100-footer, Comanche, which made her debut in the Sydney to Hobart Race.


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Howdy Partner! A bird’s eye view of ‘ti Profligate, anchored in the aqua waters of the Caribbean.

Phaedo – Les Voiles de St Barth

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Volume up ☝️ for contagious energy! 🎷 🎶 🙌

Feeling a little blue about the cancellation of Les Voiles de St Barth 2020? This video of Lloyd Thornburg's Gunboat 66 PHAEDO during the very windy 2018 edition is sure to raise your spirits!

Video by Ocean Images - Richard Langdon & Rachel Fallon-Langdon

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GUNBOAT 66 PHAEDO: Shifting Into Cruising Mode

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When I first stepped aboard the bright orange Gunboat 66 Phaedo while chatting up ARC sailors here in Rodney Bay, I had no idea at first who I was talking to. A soft-spoken not-quite-clean-shaven young man in a t-shirt invited me aboard after I hailed the boat from the dock, and I naturally assumed he must be crew. He eagerly pointed out the skipper (Paul Hand, on the left up top) and some of the other folks aboard, and it was only after I inquired directly as to his own identity that he admitted, a bit bashfully, that he was in fact owner of the boat.

You could have knocked me over with a feather. Lloyd Thornburg (on the right up there) certainly doesn’t look or act like someone who has just dropped what must be something north of $4 million to build the boat of his dreams. But he sure does know what to do with it. Since departing Cape Town, South Africa, where the boat was born, in November of last year, Lloyd has raced Phaedo successfully in the Caribbean circuit early this year, in the Transatlantic Race this past summer, and in the Fastnet Race, in which his photo chase boat rescued the crew of Rambler 100 after she lost her keel and capsized just past Fastnet Rock.

Learning this, you might assume Lloyd is balls-to-the-wall racing royalty, but in fact his roots in the sport are modest and decidely cruising oriented. The first boat he ever owned was a Soling (which he did not race), then he sailed a Pacific Seacraft Dana 24, followed by a Bristol Channel Cutter 28, and then a 37-foot steel Amazon, which he cruised singlehanded around the West Indies for a while.

Then came a quantum leap to a Gunboat . Lloyd doesn’t have an entirely coherent explanation of how that happened, beyond saying that he saw one and fell in love with it. If Gunboats didn’t exist and he bought a boat “off the shelf,” as he puts it, he admits it would most likely be a Hallberg Rassy, a brand he has long admired.

When he ordered Phaedo he clearly conceived of her as a cruising boat, but somewhere in there it seems he was thoroughly seduced by the aesthetic of carbon fiber and the cutting edge of modern boat construction. By the time she was finished, Phaedo was the most aggressively built Gunboat to date in terms of weight reduction, complete with a state-of-the-art distributed-power system fed by lithium batteries.

These days I’d say Lloyd is a true cruiser/racer. A veritable Carleton Mitchell for the 21st century. His eyes do light up when discussing the performance of his boat. She’ll average 300 miles a day when she’s in race mode (her best day so far has been 385), with more than 4 tons of gear and fluids left ashore, and 240 a day when she’s in cruising mode. When I asked, half in jest, whether he’d ever flown a hull on Phaedo , Lloyd immediately answered, eyes brighter than ever: “Yes, all the time. Sometimes, I swear, it feels like we get both of them out of the water.”

And, as you can see in this video here, he really isn’t kidding about that.

It seems he particularly enjoyed the Fastnet Race. He tells an amazing story about how they almost didn’t make the start. A boat struck Phaedo the day before and damaged one hull, and through a miraculous series of coincidences it was barely possible to get it repaired in time. Phaedo was third around the rock, right after Rambler , and Lloyd’s photo boat was right on the scene, waiting to snap pix, but got sidelined into rescuing people instead.

“We were just 15 minutes from retiring from the race to join the search,” explains Lloyd. “But then we got word they recovered everyone. Just think–if we hadn’t repaired our hull in time, the photo boat wouldn’t have been there, and the next boat was two hours behind us.”

Clearly, the drama of all this captivated the young man, but still there’s a big part of Lloyd that just wants to go cruising. He entered Phaedo in the cruising division of the ARC, because he wanted to use his engines when the wind got light, and because he wanted to eat some real turkey on passage for a change instead of freeze-dried food. Phaedo was third boat over the line, and might easily have been first if she’d been in race mode, but right now that doesn’t seem so important to Lloyd and his crew.

“It was a lot nicer not having to chase some Volvo 70 around a course,” he admits.

Lloyd says he’s not entirely sure whether he’ll be racing or cruising around the Caribbean this season. But talking to him yesterday, I’d say he’s leaning very strongly toward spending a lot more time in the slow lane.

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  • DEAD GUY: Bill Butler

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DEAD GUY: Donald M. Street, Jr.

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Ok…this is my dream boat!!! Thanks for sharing such amazing info!

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We were looking forward to seeing your CAT passing by our window on the way into Honolulu. We hope you decide to try again in the in 2015. We sail small CATS and at the present time we have have a Hobie Getaway that we trailer to Kaneohe Bay on the opposite side of Oahu.

Aloha, Bob and Ginger Thornburg

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The coolest catamarans and multihulls of all time

Toby Heppell

  • Toby Heppell
  • April 19, 2023

We asked top sailors and marine industry gurus to choose the coolest catamarans and multihulls of all time, here's what they came up with

phaedo sailboat

As with beauty, coolness is in the eye of the beholder. While for some, speed is secondary to function or comfort, inherently any list of coolest catamarans and multihulls is likely to tip towards the high performance designs, whether they are historic trend setters or modern record holders.

We’ve asked a plethora or personalities from the sailing world, from top designers to racer for their thoughts on the coolest catamarans and multihulls. Each selection holds a special place in the heart of one of sailing’s biggest names. Reading about their favourites demonstrates it isn’t always the absolute latest technology that makes some of the boats the coolest catamarans and multihulls out there.

The Coolest Catamarans and Multihulls

Phaedo – mod 70.

“In terms of complexity for speed, there isn’t anything else which has such a good ratio as a MOD 70,” says British pro-sailor Sam Goodchild. “We’ve been over 40 knots [boatspeed] on them, and with Phaedo we used to sail for up to 200 days a year, all around the world, with just two shore crew. We were sailing offshore with just five people, so you’ve got super high performance for relatively easy upkeep.

“We’d be doing the Caribbean regattas against boats like Comanche , they’d have 20-something people on the rail and we had five, doing circles around them! Then we did all the transatlantic races – for me it’s an amazing boat.

Gitana 17 – Ultime

“The Ultimes to me are the most technologically advanced and fastest boats that you can still go offshore with, at incredible speeds and at the same time a robustness and all round performance: 30 knots upwind on the ocean! So I think they are technically the peak of sailing at the moment,” says Co-Owner of The Ocean Race , Johan Salen, who nominates the giant trimaran Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, also known as Gitana 17.

Gitana 17 is a 32m fully foiling trimaran built to a Verdier design to compete in both crewed (by a team of six) and solo races and record attempts. Skippered by Charles Caudrelier, it has won the Rolex Fastnet Race , Transat Jacques Vabre and Brest Atlantiques.

phaedo sailboat

Aerial images of Francois Gabart onboard Ultim MACIF, training before the Round the Word Solo Handed Record, off Belle Ile, on October 16th, 2017 – Photo Jean-Marie LIOT / ALEA / MACIF

MACIF – Ultime

“This is a boat only a handful of people have ever been aboard but it’s a boat all the cool kids would really love to sail,” says Dee Caffari – the first woman to sail non-stop round the world in both directions.

“It’s the coolest yacht in the world because it’s very, very fast and because François Gabart set the 24-hour record of 851 miles all on his own.

“And he is very cool himself!”

phaedo sailboat

PHOTO CHRISTOPHE LAUNAY / DPPI – Alain Theabault and his crew ( Jacques Vincent – Yves Parlier – Jean Le Cam – Robert Douglas )

Hydroptère – Speed record breaker

“I thought Hydroptère was the most incredible boat for a long time,” says Vendée Globe solo sailor Pip Hare of the groundbreaking 60ft (18m) foiler. “It was the first flying boat we’d ever seen. It crossed oceans and also was going for the 50-knot record.”

The experimental hydrofoil was the brainchild of skipper, helmsman and project founder Alain Thébault, together with design studio VPLP. It was built on principles Thébault proved as early as the Nineties and launched in 2008 – over a decade decade before the Ultimes evolved into the foiling offshore multihull class we know today.

phaedo sailboat

Photo: Thierry Martinez

B&Q Castorama – Round the world record breaker

“For me ‘Moby’, as Ellen MacArthur’s trimaran was known, is one of the coolest yachts,” says top yachting photographer, Thierry Martinez of Ellen’s B&Q Castorama.

“In this photograph Ellen is 100 miles off the finish line at Ushant just before she broke her solo round the world record in 2005. I wasn’t working for Ellen at this time, but I had followed her from the boat’s launch in Sydney to the end of successful broken record.

“The trimaran was extra cool because it had two sides: one blue side with a French sponsor, and an orange side for an English sponsor. To shoot both sides was a challenge.”

USA 17 – 2010 America’s Cup winner

“I’d have loved to sail on the America’s Cup AC72 cats in San Francisco in 2013, they were so invigorating,” says Thomas Coville – one of the world’s most successful ocean racing skippers. “Those boats were when Larry Ellison just let free in the America’s Cup and pushed the limits. But perhaps even cooler was the big trimaran challenger, USA 17 [in 2010]. When you saw the size of the wing and the size of Jimmy Spithill steering the boat, and flying on one hull, I think it was totally amazing.

“We should give a medal to the generation who was on the America’s Cup in San Francisco for creating so many new ideas and new dynamics, but for me the first step of sailing by flying was when those guys arrived with a trimaran with wings. Today we are trying to recreate that kind of a step by foiling around the world.”

Foiling F50 – SailGP ‘s foiling catamaran

“Without question the SailGP F50 is the best boat that I have ever sailed,” says America’s Cup skipper, 49er gold medalist and foiling Moth world champion, Nathan Outteridge. “The headline top speeds of over 50 knots are impressive, but there is so much more to these incredible boats.

“The boats are inherently unstable, and so require constant adjustment of the foils to keep them flying at optimum levels. Initially the boats were very hard to sail; the foils are very unstable and not as forgiving as were used in the Bermuda America’s Cup , but with the help of sophisticated computer aided flight controls and user-friendly flight controller hardware the boats are now far easier to sail, which makes for better, closer racing.”

Biscuits Cantreau 2 – Revolutionary trimaran

Biscuits Cantreau 2 was a Formula 40 trimaran designed for Jean Le Cam in 1987. “Formula 40 was a class born in France with a very simple rule for multihulls for offshore racing,” explains Lauriot–Prévost, co-founder of VPLP yacht design. “The boat had to be 40ft long, about 40ft wide, the mast height was 21m, with a sail area of 90m2, and weigh 2.3 tonnes minimum.

“In 1986 the majority of the fleet were catamarans, but we started with a trimaran. For 1987 we sat down with a blank sheet of paper. The challenge was to be at the minimum weight with a trimaran. We wanted to go for a trimaran which sailed like a catamaran, flying a hull. That was really something very new.

“Most trimarans sailed on the main hull, with floats to balance the boat for transverse stability. We had the crew on the windward float, three rudders, and aimed to sail flying a hull. She was faster than all the catamaran fleet, and beat them all.”

Olympus Photo – The original modern multihull

“The late Mike Birch ’s Olympus Photo, designed and built by Walter Greene, sits at the root of all modern multis,” says Guillaume Verdier – one of the most talented and successful naval architects of the modern era. “Mike and his boat began the legend of the Route du Rhum and made offshore racing so popular. With his 12m-long yellow trimaran he beat Michel Malinovsky on his 21m (69ft) monohull Kriter in 1978, by less than two minutes – extraordinary considering they didn’t know each other’s position at the time.

“Greene’s design was a cold moulded wooden-epoxy coated boat with small longitudinal stringers. At the time it was a very original way to build boats, developed by the Gougeon brothers.”

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