WSL unveil new 70ft catamaran which they claim will be the fastest one-design boat ever built 26/07/07

Today, the World Sailing League (WSL) unveiled the innovative design for their futuristic 70ft catamarans that will be raced in the new global Grand Prix series, the premier annual sailing competition. The spectacular speed-machines represent the next evolution of sailing and could be the fastest one-design boats ever built.

With masts of over 98ft and foiled hulls sitting at almost 40ft wide, these cats represent the forefront of design technology. The boats will be crewed by nine professional sailors and one select guest, and will be capable of speeds up to 40 knots.

Designer Vincent Lauriot Prévost of VPLP explained: “We are very excited about this catamaran because she represents a step towards the future of racing. If we consider that monohulls were the racing standard, then multihull design has stretched the performance possibilities and now ‘outmodes’ the mono. Now these multihulls armed with foils will be the next generation that will overtake the conventional multihull. WSL will spearhead this new evolution.”

For WSL’s João Lagos, the design launch represents an important step forward in the development of the League: “We’ve been working hard for a long time to create all of the areas of WSL and have accelerated our efforts since our launch in February. Whilst venue development is an exceptionally important aspect of the project, the boats and their spectacular performance characteristics are integral to the WSL vision for creating fast, equally matched and coast hugging fleet racing. We always wanted to create something new and exciting in the sport, and I believe that this new design is the first important piece of our vision.”

The central pod and hulls will be constructed from carbon-fibre and prepreg foam to minimise weight, with single skin carbon fibre autoclaved prepreg used for the mast and beams. The centreboard on the pod will be 4.25 metres deep, with the option to raise it to 3.5. There will be five sails available to the teams, ranging from the 72m” staysail to a 260m” gennaker.

Legendary sailors Russell Coutts and Paul Cayard, founders of WSL, have been heavily involved with the design and planning process. Coutts commented: “Paul and I have been working on this project for some time now, so it’s fantastic to be at the point where we are starting to build these catamarans. These boats are going to be extremely quick and should represent the future of fleet racing. Vincent (Lauriot Prévost) and his team have done a great job and we can’t wait to take the first one for a test run on the water.”

With the design now finalised, 14 of these spectacular catamarans will be built in Portugal – the first due for completion in June 2008. The remaining boats will be built over the following 18 months – in time for promotional regattas around the world in 2009, and the first full year of the World Sailing League in 2010.

The name of this new class will be announced at the unveiling of the first boat in July next year.

Design specifications
Weight: 5,700kg
LOA: 70ft
Width: 12metres
Mast height: 30 metres

Sail specifications
Main 168m2
Solent 115m2
Staysail 72m2
Code 0 155m2
Gennaker 260m2 (approx.)