Life is coming back to multihull racing in the shape of a new ORMA 50 and an ORMA 70


The ORMA 60s vanished, the maxi multihull circuit is extinct, save a few giant record-breakers which are, by their very nature, always pushing towards obsolescence. Is there a future for oceangoing multihull racing?

Many people in France hope that what you see here is a spark that will catch light. It is Actual, a newly launched ORMA 50, designed by Guillaume Verdier, ex-Groupe Finot and the sweetheart designer of the next generation of IMOCA 60s. It’s being skippered in November’s Transat Jacques Vabre transatlantic race by former Mini sailor Yves Le Blevec.

Meanwhile, on Monday the revamped Gitana 11 launches. The latest project from the marvellously recession-proof stable of Baron de Rothschild is the ‘extension’ of their ORMA 60 trimaran from 60ft to 77ft – the first of what is hoped will be a resurgence of bigger, extended trimarans which will, if you like, have a longer wheel base that the 60s of old and be better behaved offshore.

It will be interesting to see what ideas Gitana 11 Mk 2 incorporates for the ocean-hardening what became a discredited and overly expensive breed. All to be revealed on Monday.

Thanks to Thierry Martinez for the photo of Actual.