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MR.CLEAN

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The

the other day reminded me that Alain Thebault had promised me a Skype interview a few months ago, and I'm newly inspired to do it after watching that craziness. Ask your questions about the boat, program, whatever here and I'll get 'em answered if I can.

 

Thanks much!

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Where does he see their development ending? Are they looking at every possible part of a boat and in their eyes what is the next major step forward? Weight? Aero? Hyrdo? etc.

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Have they made any more progress in implementing their automatic control for the rudder T foil? Will it be ready for their LA-Honolulu record attempt?

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I realise french translation is an issue and those frenchies get a bit out there in their understanding of sailing but,it would be interesting to get Alain to explain the basics and how he discovered the fundamentals that make the bird fly

E.G. Foil size and shape to allow an appropriate "take off" speed

Did I see another crew inside the hatch - whats he doing, monitoring the elements of the craft or foil angle control etc

Did I notice some aluminium on the boat or is it all carbon

Have they down sized anything for the Pacific Ocean run?

Do they need crew to have personal intercoms or is sign language needed at that speed

I have been on an ORMA 60 and noticed the French step up a bit different, why do they have the winches etc in

those positions on the boat?, and whats with the steering wheel?

Why so small floats, wouldn't bigger floats help them in lighter wind.

No center board?, how much sideways movement do they get when the wind in on the beam and forward of the beam

 

I could go on, but I'll let others include questions to this list.

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The change to a catamaran testing in hydroptere.ch was because of:

 

a ) wanted twin T rudders for better stability control and avoid pitch-poling.

b ) better handling in wind too light to take off and/or big waves.

c ) better weight distribution closer to the foils allows for lighter construction.

d ) other.

e ) all of it.

 

???

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I have read that there is a foil limitation of about 50 kns and then there will need to be a design change . Some thing like the sound barrier for Aircraft .Do you have a plan for this and any idea on what these foil changes will be. ?

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How deep can the foils dig into big waves before the lift sets in?

Does this generate pitching? And how well is it dampened by the Rudder-foil?

In other words: Is there a waveheight-limit?

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Question: can they change the angle of incidence of the main foils while flying? Is rudder angle of incidence controllable under way?

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Question: For years I've heard that Team Hydroptere had a system under development that would spot objects very close to the surface or just under the surface in time for the boat to avoid it while flying. Does such a system exist?

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What is the largest sea state to date they have sailed the boat in? What is the maximum wind speed they have encountered? What limits have the designed the boat to?

 

I see they are taking a crew of 5. How many people are needed on deck to run the boat?

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The technology is interesting - big wave handling etc - but what of the human element.

 

How will they handle watches

How will they rest when it seems to be an "all hands on deck" continually?

How long does it take to be a competent "helmsman" - meaning at night, no horizon, big squall work

How to mentally handle the possibility of a "trip over" crash. No chase boat can keep up, just rely on the merchant marine?(I'm not implying a negative here, just asking)

 

 

And will you be sending out daily logs/stories of how its going?

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How do they plan on dealing with a messy sea state? What speed can the boat do in non-flying mode?

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Do they have to sail at 10/10ths to keep the boat flying or can it be dialed back to 7/10ths with some margin of safety while still making good time?

 

How much time do they have sailing at night?

 

What are the loads like on the boat (helm, sail controls, foils)?

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All my questions will be answered when/ if they make it in one piece. To beat Geronimo's record they will have to foil/fly day and night and be able to adjust the rudder T foil on the fly and not break anything! A big ask but they have allready taken the concept so far it is not impossible. Auscat said it well and I echo that. Waiting, will be following, fingers crossed and touching wood, congratulations to Alain and crew on reaching the final frontier. Bon voyage.

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Ive been in Lorient last year and saw an exhibit of the famous hydroptère , and we saw the 1/3 boat there. Really amazing story. Alain Thebault is for me the perfect example of a guy living for his dream. There was a video at the exhibit that was i think 35-40 minutes long. All from the beginning , to when the hydroptere was stranded on a dock on a remote place , no money to get it back , to the latest developement in Switzerland. A truly amazing video i would love to see again.

 

i would like to ask Alain one thing : Can i hitch a ride?

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Two questions:

1. What changes have been made to L'Hydroptere DCNS to prevent pitchpoling in the Pacific?

2. I am familiar with the history back to1976. The design has always had a lifting foil rudder on the stern. Did Alain ever consider a canard configuration with a lifting foil rudder at the bow?

Congratulations on a great effort! (I started a similar project in 1970, but was limited by funding and never went beyond a first sailing prototype.)

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Is the Hydroptere Maxi still on the cards? There are a few renders floating around one shows a kind of vestigal hulled tri-cat the other Libryd is a more conventional trimaran format have they decided what way they will go as yet?

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How high to windward can it (consistently) go?

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The boat is an absolute rocket - (world's best, and more power to you and your very bright and courageous team) - in its preferred conditions, but light air performance interests me, also beating to windward. Can the lee foil be made vertical to act like a daggerboard while beating? With the stepped floats, how slow are they in light airs (because the boat sits very low at rest) and presumably the same in quiet conditions? When are you going to clean up all that crew windage and drag and also fair the crew down low into a true airfoil beam? You're losing performance there, mon ami. Lastly, how much did Paul Ricard influence you?

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Alain and I are playing Skype tag at the moment. I came to Europe, he went to the states, and we're still on fucked time zones

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Really fun interview with those boys - Alain and multihull specialist Jacques Vincent, we finally banged it out this morning. Take a couple of days to sort out the edits. Thanks for some excellent questions - didn't get to all but got to a bunch!

Screen Shot 2012-08-27 at 1.03.07 PM.png

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Looking forward to your story if I haven't missed it someplace?

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Clean, just saw your interview-good job considering they seem to be wanting to hold a lot of info very close. Seemed like it was hard to get straight answers but you did get a bunch of good stuff. Thanks for the effort!

 

-----

Just listened to the whole interview. Alain Thebault was hesitant to answer some questions-keeping more secrets than I thought they would. Both guys have heavy French accents which I have trouble understanding. I took notes and it is surprising how few they are for such a long interview:

1) 44 knots(50.6mph!) peak in San Fran Bay,

2) Do well upwind in 3M waves,

3) Won't tell about pitch stability "secrets" or any details of the new electronic pitch control system,

4) Alain wants to go for "the 65 knot barrier:,

5) They can change the angle of incidence of the main foils after stopping but not underway,

6) Forward looking radar.sonar an ongoing project-not working too well at present,

7) 2 or 3 on deck in conditions under 30 knots boat speed,

8) Steering very intensive-no autopilot-keeping laminar flow on the foils is main task of helmasman who can't see the foils so has to learn this by "feel".No "feel"(feedback) in the steering system at all.

9) Best angle upwind 90-100 degrees but can be improved by flying the windward foil.

10) Alain still working on design of the new "round the world " version-should be complete in a few monts. Need an additional sponsor

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This was a very fun interview. Thanks for getting them on the phone and putting this together. These guys are at the bleeding edge of sailing technology. It's like an interview with Werner Von Braun and Neil Armstrong. Thanks again.

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