l'Hydroptère, ambassador of the flying sailing boats

The dream is not new. Make a boat fly over the seas is a target that many sailors would have loved to achieve.
Combining the nautical and aeronautical world, sailing and gliding, the frontier between sky and sea has never been so thin for these extreme skippers.

Following the exhibition entitled "to Éric...", La Cité de la Voile Éric Tabarly in Lorient dedicated a temporary exhibition to the flying sailing boats and to the adventurers who once decided to make a boat fly. Among them, Alain Thébault and his l’Hydroptère appear to be natural ambassadors. Last autumn, assisted by his team of flying acrobats, Alain Thébault managed to get the very coveted title for l'Hydroptère i.e. the fastest sailing boat on the planet. Her building, her operating mode and above all her performanc e are closer to the aeronautical field. At full speed, the carbon bird can indeed exceed the legendary “wind barrier” (50 knots) with top speeds of over 100 km/h.
l’Hydroptère is obviously not the only craft to be able to free herself from Archimedes thrust. Other pioneers before Alain Thébault built prototypes capable of “flying” over the sea. 
On nearly 400 m², La Cité de la Voile tells the story of these amazing crafts, from the 1860’s with the first trials through Eric Tabarly’s project of a sailing boat with foils in the 70’s until 2009, when l’Hydroptère became the fastest sailing boat on the planet and beat the absolute sailing speed records over 500 meters and over one nautical mile.
Centred around the 1/3 scale model of l’Hydroptère which helped Alain Thébault develop and fine-tune the 60ft trimaran, the exhibition’s museography is edutaining. Pictures, video recordings, a flight simulator, stories and practical experiments will help visitors to better understand how these extraordinary sailing boats work.
We also would like to underline the fact that from mid-May, l'Hydroptère will be exceptionally moored at La Cité de la Voile's pontoon before her departure for a busy European tour. A great opportunity for the visitors to approach the sailing boat very closely and even for the lucky ones to meet the crew. The definite dates for the event will soon be displayed on the internet website of la Cité de la Voile and of l’Hydroptère.

Exhibition: «Skippers du ciel... l’aventure des voiliers volants»
From February to December 2010
Cité de la Voile Éric Tabarly in Lorient