We ask top sailors and marine industry gurus to choose the coolest and most innovative yachts of our times. Guillaume Verdier nominates Olympus Photo
“The late Mike Birch’s Olympus Photo, designed and built by Walter Greene, sits at the root of all modern multis,” says Verdier. “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.”
“I remember watching it on television (probably not live since we had no television at home then) when I was eight years old and had just completed my first sailing camp in the Rade de Brest.”
In this year’s Route du Rhum, 44 years later, the Verdier-designed 100ft Gitana 17 won with a new record time of 6 days, 19 hours, 47 minutes.
Olympus Photo stats rating
Top speed: 20 knots
LOA: 12m/39ft 4in
Adrenalin factor: 90%
Guillaume Verdier is one of the most talented and successful naval architects of the modern era. He has drawn many of the most competitive IMOCA 60s, both collaborating with VPLP and working alone, including the Ultime Gitana 17, Comanche, and many others. As designer for Emirates Team New Zealand he also created the AC75 foiling monohull.
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