In two metre high swell the port foil broke free of the crossarm.

On Monday 8 June, L’Hydroptere, the longest hydrofoil built, suffered a second accident in front of La Baule after the breaking of a crossarm when sailing near Lorient exactly three years ago, in June 1995.

This time, the port foil, a 6 meter long piece, built in carbon by Dassault Aviation in Toulouse, went free of its fixation to the crossarm. The crew could sail back safely to La Trinite sur Mer.

L’Hydroptere was sailing in two meters high swell, in SO winds, 20-25 knots strong.

With a beam increased to 24 meters and a lenght limited to 18 meters, the Hydroptere is the world longest speed sailing project. Alain Thebault, his young skipper, had the concept in mind since 1985 and has devoted all his past 13 years to the project, which has been paid partially by the French tax-payers, Dassault, Matra and the French Navy.

Alain Thebault and his crew had to crack the Laurent Bourgnon 24-Hours record this year (540 miles) and also the Atlantic record. They claim to have achieved recently 39 knots.

In spite of the work of the structure engineers from Dassault, Matra and l’Aerospatiale in Nantes, and all the money invested, the high number of modifications since the launching in 1994 shows the complexity to understand the true load on the different part of the flying craft.

If Simon Mc Keon and Tim Daddo crack the 50 knots barrier next September in Australia with their Extreme 50, – the lowest budget devoted to a record-breaker- it will take a long time for l’Hydroptere to rejoin them.