Maxi Groupama trimaran launched
Bang on schedule, the launch of the 105 ft (31.50 m) long maxi trimaran for French skipper Franck Cammas is the 6th maxi-mulithull to have come out of the Multiplast shipyard in Vannes since the year 2000. The yard is world leader in the building of ocean-racing maxi-multihulls.
The unique experience and unrivalled savoir-faire of the Multiplast yard no doubt convinced Groupama 3's sponsors and skipper to commission the Vannes yard to undertake construction. A fine programme of major records and circumnavigations has been scheduled for the boat, events and courses where boats bearing the 'made by Multiplast' mark have an unbeaten record. The yard builds machines that can be relied upon. Gilles Ollier, Director of the Multiplast yard :
Multiplast has been investing in the construction of big ocean-racing multihulls for more than 25 years now. Being chosen to build a prototype for one of the world's leading green water racing teams reflects our experience and savoir-faire. We are proud to have undertaken this project...". Groupama 3 is the 6th maxi-multihull of more than 105 ft (32 m) to have been built here (only 7 multis of this size have been built in the world). Designed by the firm Marc Van Peteghem & Vincent Lauriot-Prévost, she is the 2nd maxi-trimaran to come out of the yard's build shed.
A gigantic puzzle
Even if there has been little true evolution in the world of composites recently, processes and manufacturing techniques remain key factors in the building of prototypes like these. Groupama 3 is a sophisticated boat, requiring the creation of more than 400 components of various shapes and sizes. Flat pieces included flooring and bulkheads, whilst others had to be shaped – hulls, fairing. Others again were of multiple shape and size, such as the crossbeams, the mast foot and various elements of gear. The trimaran is an all-carbon sandwich construction – a Nomex (honeycomb) core and epoxy resin. All components were oven-cured at temperatures of between 100° and 120°C, some parts requiring multiple curing sessions. Multiplast boasts several ovens one of which is 50 m long, the longest of its type in Europe.
Whilst the manufacturing process is known and used across a wide range of industrial applications (aeronautical, Formula 1 car racing), at the Multiplast yard, everything is done by hand. Permanent quality control lies at the heart of the reliability of Multiplast's productions. Its starts with the control of the raw materials whose technical characteristics are thoroughly inspected before being used, and then the use of samples to confirm the composite's mechanical characteristics, before finally carrying out non-destructive ultra-sound testing. Add to this pragmatic and rigorous approach, advice from the Design Office of the Gilles Ollier Design Team working from the same site making it possible to put into practice immediately the solutions put forward. Yann Penfornis, Project Manager for the construction of Groupama 3 : "...with this boat, we have continued to develop our build and quality control processes. We deliberately allowed for a fairly lengthy construction period for that very reason, which afforded us the luxury of being able to talk things over at length with the Groupama team. Certain applications were the direct result of what had been experienced out on the water with Groupama 2..."
Groupama 3 is the result of an efficient association between three entities – designers, architects Marc Van Peteghem & Vincent Lauriot-Prévost (whose offices are just a stone's throw from the yard), and Groupama 3's technical team – the biggest ever to have invested in overseeing the construction of such a prototype (9 people under the aegis of Stéphane Guilbaud) and the Multiplast yard with Yann Penfornis as project manager and Philippe Cahue as yard supervisor. No fewer than 50 people have worked on the construction of the world's biggest trimaran 105 ft (31,.50 m) long. Groupama 3 is likely to be an extremely powerful boat, all the more so as she has curved foils.
Several times world champion of the 60 foot trimaran class and current leader of the 2006 championship winning all three of the events held so far this season, it is understandable that Franck Cammas would be in search of performance. For example, almost all of the deck gear is carbon and fitted into the boat, rather than added on. The dagger board housing has been designed so that it can accommodated different appendages as the boat is developed without having to be changed. The mast foot on the central hull is all carbon too, whereas it was made of titanium on boats of the previous generation. Another detail, is that Groupama 3 has not had any coating beneath her paint to keep her weight down as much as possible.
Quest for the Holy Grail
As soon as she has been launched, Groupama 3 will make for her home base in Lorient (Southern Brittany). There she will first undergo loading tests. This means that all of the major traction points, such as the rigging chain plates or the sail pulling points will be subjected to working loads which have been calculated statistically by the architects. A final validation before the first sea trial. The first series of sea trials will get underway in the middle of June. All testing will be under the direction of Multiplast, before the boat can be said to be handed over finally. Franck Cammas and his team will then enter into the training and apprenticeship phase of their platform, before setting about attacking their programme of record attempts including the transatlantic records, the 24-hour distance record and the round the world record.
Facts and figures
LOA 31,50 m
Bmax 22,50 m
Mast height 38,40 m
Draft 5,70 m
Air clearance 41,00 m
Dislacement 18,00 t
Upwaind sail area 557 m²
Mainsail area 356 m²
Solent jib 201 m²
Downwind sail area 828 m²
Gennaker 472 m²
16 000 m² of carbon
Oven cured more than 50 times at temperatures of between 100° and 120° C
A puzzle comprising more than 400 parts
A team of 50 people working on the prototype
Cost of boat : 8 million euros (excl VAT)
Press Relations Multiplast
Tel. +33 (0) 680 730 004
Press Relations Trimaran Groupama 3
+33 (0) 630 733 041
+33 (0) 607 681 895
Copyright free photos for the press by Yvan Zedda