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MOD 70 vs. ORMA 60 - what's next?


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The "Pure Multihull Porn from the mythic front page"  thread and videoos were excellent and got me thinking about the evolution of these big boat classes

The ORMA (Ocean Racing Multihiull Association) was a official racing rule propagated by the ISAF  (now "World Sail") in 1996 and active until 2007.   So, sort of like an oversized Formula 18.      The  MOD 70 (Multihull One Design) was created in 2009, and claimed to serve as the successor. 
These were already a very different thing (Development Rule class vs. One Design class).    How successful were they?    
According to Wikipedia the class: 

Quote

"suffered many failures at sea, including capsize.[2] In one famous race, 2002 Route du Rhum, only 3 of 18 starters managed to complete the race. This eventually led to the abandonment of the class by sponsors." 
...
The one design Mod70 was created to continue the heritage of large blue water racing multihulls, while addressing the issues that had arisen with the ORMA 60 designs.

MOD 70 said there was a "strict quota" of 12 boats, and seven were built.  Looking at the site it doesn't seem like the whole series racing idea ever really took off.   According to there web site 5 boats raced in 2012, and since then it looks like individual boats have entered a few races under open rules.  The One Design series racing thing never really took off,

I  don't know how any ORMA 60's were built, but it seems more than 7 - which seems to be the most claimed by Mod 70.   So, despite the supposed danger of the 60's it seems like it was the more successful class.   MOD 70 claims these design advancements: 


SECURITY – RELIABILITY – PERFORMANCE

  • 1) Smaller sail area (5%) providing more safety when ocean sailing 2
  • 2) Longer central hull (10 ft) to minimise pitchpoling 3
  • 3) Raised beam clearance to reduce wave impacts 4
  • 4) Possibility to lift the centre hull rudder
  • 5) Curved foils for more performance and safety 6
  • 6) Shorter monolithic canting mast (+/- 8%) positioned further aft in the hull 7
  • 7) Low temperature cured carbon fibre & foam sandwich construction

So is the 70 the better boat, as the designers claim?   Obviously "bigger is faster", but the 60's had the longer mast.   

  • There was no requirement in ORMA that all three hulls on the ORMA boats be the same length - if "long in the middle" were faster anyone could have built one that way.  (And in fact ORMA permitted cats as well as tris, I believe) 
  • Obviously raised beams, curved boards, lifting rudders make sense.  Some later ORMA boats had  some of these features, and I don't believe  the rules prohibited any of them. 
  • The beam on the shorter ORMA was wider than that on the longer MOD 70.   From the MOD 70 site: Measuring over 10 feet in length (21.20 metres instead of 18.28 metres), the MOD 70s are less beamy than their ORMA ancestors, the latter reaching 18 metres.;
    :But- ORMA had a max beam, and most builders took advantage of it, but it wasn't required to build to the max permitted.  A 60x40' boat was rule legal.   Is there some new consensus on ideal beam for a trimaran now? 

So, which was the better boat?     The formula 60s seemed to result in a bigger field.  And the boats (the newest being over a decade old at this point) are still winning in head-to-head races against the supposedly superior MOD 70 and setting point-to-point records, like Mighty Merlot.   

The supposed danger of the ORMA 60s seems based on one race, which was a tough race.  It was a long single-handed race.  It's may be easier to gut extreme weather out without worrying about capsize, so naturally most of the big multihull competitors chose to "abandon" as the French site on the race says.   So did 5 of 17 sixty-foot monohulls, though.   I don't know how many of the boats actually capsized or were destroyed in the race, perhaps a couple. 

Was the MOD 70 a detour that has turned into a dead-end for ocean going multis?  Should the ORMA rule be revived, modified or replaced with a new rule that allows multiple builders and new innovation into this space?   Isn't a development class for multis of this size and cost inherently more interesting, and doesn't history prove that at this point?  Clearly we had not hit the apex of multihull design in 2009, where we pretty much knew everything interesting about how to build an ocean going multi. (Which one would be hard pressed to even claim for a more traditional monohull ocean racing category today). 

2005gitana1.jpg
ORMA 60 shot by Tim Feak Photography. 

Notes: 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ORMA_60
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MOD_70
http://www.multionedesign.com/en/
https://www.sailingworld.com/sailboats/mod-squad/
 

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Orma 60s are amazing tris in the right hands

I believe the MOD 70 was simply the next progression from all their extensive orma 60 experience,  and a one-design (MOD 70) was used to keep the build costs down and the fleet equally matched. 

I've never sailed on either, but I would be pretty comfortable saying that a MOD 70 is a quicker design.    

The next progression would probably be Gitana 17.

image.png.6f2facecf2194d071c6aacbe5e8ab8f2.png

 

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5 hours ago, ricwoz said:

 

The "Pure Multihull Porn from the mythic front page"  thread and videoos were excellent and got me thinking about the evolution of these big boat classes
I  don't know how any ORMA 60's were built, but it seems more than 7 - which seems to be the most claimed by Mod 70.   So, despite the supposed danger of the 60's it seems like it was the more successful class. 

So, which was the better boat?   

Was the MOD 70 a detour that has turned into a dead-end for ocean going multis?  Should the ORMA rule be revived, modified or replaced with a new rule that allows multiple builders and new innovation into this space?   


 

No idea on how many ORMA 60 were built there were quite a few more than 20. The 60ft Trimarans like Apricot which won the Carlsberg Transatlantic in 1986 and Primagaz which Laurent Bourgnon set a 24hr solo record of 540 nm in 1994 would be ORMA 60 class legal but predate the class.  Primagaz was renamed and raced in ORMA class.

The 2002 route du rhum had 18 ORMA start with 3 finishing. Gusts up to 80 knots probably had something to do with it
https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Route_du_Rhum_2002

MM shows the older ORMA can beat MOD 70 in lighter conditions with flatter water when wind and waves start building money would be on the MOD70 to be faster. ORMA 60 can do 18 knots upwind tacking through 90 deg in 20 knot windspeed.

Classes die out for a reason those multis were expensive so no chance of them being revived.

The Multi 50 or the Ultimes are where it's at today for larger Trimarans

The Multi 50 class looks good has freedom with design  limited number of sails to reduce cost new boats being built. https://www.facebook.com/multi50/

 

 

 

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As I recall - please correct me if you remember otherwise - the Mod 70 was created in an effort to revive ORMA 60 which had run out of steam largely due to escalating costs and, from a spectators standpoint, the utter dominance of Frank Cammas turning the racing into a procession. 

Open classes yield much more rapid development, within simple constraints to discourage the dominence of size and money.

The simple box rule of ORMA 60 did give us an era of truly amazing boats and sailers who greatly refined the art whilst pushing the envelope to their destruction  - that Route du Rhum being a real wake up.

On a few points -

The 70 foot length was just a way to eliminate the sprit, same ama length.

The curved, lifting, ama foil made for safer, short handed power reaching rather than placing more volume in the ama bows with the more destructive platform loading that creates.

Everyone laughed at Geants stearing station windshields before she won, demonstrating the importance of preserving crew performance.

The Route du Rhum disaster led to the control of the use of high modulus carbon with it's high cost and lack of shock absorbing toughness.

 

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To answer "what's next" you need to ask why folks want to spend lots of money on untried designs, hire professional crews, and risk lives for an entertainment.  Similar to those folks who race cars, climb high mountains, or other thrills.  Boredom?  Notoriety?  Nice that there are folks like that in the world so we can watch.

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Even though ORMA was "development", the box rule was 60x60x100. This lead to a suboptimal outcome. A 60x60 tri can be powered up more compared to a 60x40 tri, so of course everyone coalesced on the max 60x60 dimension. So a random square box became reality, no "development" or "optimization". And so these over-square tris ended up pitch-poling. Then MOD 70 configuration was selected to fix this, which was "optimal" to the extent that VPLP designed it with a 70x55 dimension. 

Giving more degrees of freedom, for example constraining the sum of beam+LOA at 125 would lead to experimentation and empirical discovery of the truly optimal configuration. Or perhaps constrain the total of beam + each hull length individually and you discover that proas are in fact faster/better. But this would involve high risk for the players of spending $10m on something suboptimal.

That's why I think The Race was the most successful/valuable modern racing endeavor. Can something like this be puled off again, or are the "wallets" too wise to be lured into this now? I don't know. 

The ultimate practical question that most of us are trying to answer is "what's the best boat for my $$$?" 
So I think a race designed with a fixed budget (via claiming rule) would be the most valuable.

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The MOD70 design was owned by one guy and each boat was sold for incrementally more.  Something like 1-3 $2.5mm, 4-6 $3mm, 7-9 $3.5mm.  So not surprising that a ton weren't built.  I think Ocean racing multis could make a come back if a bunch of IMOCAs break their foils in the VG.  

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3 hours ago, EarthBM said:

Even though ORMA was "development", the box rule was 60x60x100. This lead to a suboptimal outcome. A 60x60 tri can be powered up more compared to a 60x40 tri, so of course everyone coalesced on the max 60x60 dimension. So a random square box became reality, no "development" or "optimization". And so these over-square tris ended up pitch-poling. Then MOD 70 configuration was selected to fix this, which was "optimal" to the extent that VPLP designed it with a 70x55 dimension. 

Giving more degrees of freedom, for example constraining the sum of beam+LOA at 125 would lead to experimentation and empirical discovery of the truly optimal configuration. Or perhaps constrain the total of beam + each hull length individually and you discover that proas are in fact faster/better. But this would involve high risk for the players of spending $10m on something suboptimal.

That's why I think The Race was the most successful/valuable modern racing endeavor. Can something like this be puled off again, or are the "wallets" too wise to be lured into this now? I don't know. 

The ultimate practical question that most of us are trying to answer is "what's the best boat for my $$$?" 
So I think a race designed with a fixed budget (via claiming rule) would be the most valuable.

Tough to pitch pole upwind and the OSTAR was certainly influential on ORMA development - greater beam spells higher RM for a given weight and the 18 knot upwind @ 90 degree angle was real. Center hull length is somewhat irrelevant to diagonal stability in anything but mass. Square trimarans are more appropriate in smaller sizes, in bigger boats the increased mass delivers RM with relatively lower beam.

So the boats can only be optimized for a given purpose - beyond the box rule - for ORMA I recall the limited sprit length and provision of an inboard engine were required  after Olivier Moussy was lost in the Quebec- St Malo.

The Race in 2000 saw no trimarans, all catamarans and probably represented their swansong in that down wind sleigh ride. Team Philips was the innovative member of that race but sadly never made the start due to a massive structural fail.

ORMA was inshore, offshore, single, shorthanded and fully crewed and rhe boats delivered all round!

French corporate spending and national pride had a huge influence on multihull development from 1966 to the present so what is the meal ticket for the future?

My enjoyment and involvement lay in the private owner/builder era which involved smaller but equally exciting multihulls - will that path revive - probably not.

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20 hours ago, EarthBM said:

Even though ORMA was "development", the box rule was 60x60x100. This lead to a suboptimal outcome. A 60x60 tri can be powered up more compared to a 60x40 tri, so of course everyone coalesced on the max 60x60 dimension. So a random square box became reality, no "development" or "optimization". And so these over-square tris ended up pitch-poling. Then MOD 70 configuration was selected to fix this, which was "optimal" to the extent that VPLP designed it with a 70x55 dimension. 

Thanks for this detailed answer.  I'm really interested in this.   Your use of the term "over-square" seems to suggest that there is an optimum ratio of length to beam for tris, and it's less than 1:1.  

I don't understand why an "over-square" tri would be more likely to pitchpole.   Aren't the shape of the bows, the buoyancy of the bows and the front-to-rear weight (balance) of the boat the things that designers tweak to counter tendency to capsize?    I get that making the bows longer helps prevent capsize.  As I recall from the mega-cat era Playstation added 20 feet to the bows to fight pitchpoling prior to her circumnavigation record setting run. 

Is perhaps the real problem that the extra beam gives the ability to overpower and not capsize,  but then extra length is needed to prevent capsize?   Would that make the "ideal" ratio the one where the risk of capsize and the risk of pitchpole are equalized? 
Wikipedia: 

Quote

PlayStation was originally launched with hulls of 105 feet (32 m) and was lengthened to 125 feet (38 m) LOA in August 2000, to minimize pitching. At 105 feet (32 m) PlayStation was overpowered and the possibility of a pitch pole in a yacht this size warranted the refit. Maximum beam remains at 60 feet 

playstation-l.jpg

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Besides increasing the length and decreasing the beam on the MOD 70s they also decreased the sail area, decreased the length of the mast, and moved the mast further aft on the hull (per my quote from their website in OP).    

This is from 2013, and it's really awesome to see the entire fleet in a couple of the shots here. 
 

 

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Here is IDEC Sport, the current record-holder for crewed circumnavigation. (she's had a bunch of names). 
So has Playstation, and she was named Cheyenne when she set the 'round-the-world record. 

IDEC-SPORT-Voile-2019-10_1080.jpg

A comparison of two champion record setting boats - 15 years apart: 

                                 Length              Beam        Displacement       Mast Height       Sail Area          Crew     Record                         Date
IDEC                        103'                     74'            18 long tons           131'                   8,910 sq ft           10            40d 23h 30m            2017 - Jan
Playstation             124'                    60'             27 long tons           135'                 11,150 sq ft           12           58d 09h 32m            2004 -  Apr

image.jpeg

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Gitana 17 is awesome, and basically is using the same architecture as IDEC Sport, but adding foils.  What an amazing machine.  

They are currently on standby for their round-the-world record attempt, waiting for the right weather to set sail.   It's impressive that they seem to have a very small crew: only 5.    So, while we are waiting for the first full foiling record, it's interesting to look back at all the progress made against this record in the last 30 years.   

The baton was passed from the cats to the tris in 2010.   From 1993 to 2010 six boats held the record, five catamarans and only one triarman.   (The last of the group was Orange II, which was dimensionally very similar to Playstation:  121' long, 60' wide. 

Since 2010 three boats have held the record, all of them are tris. 

What changed?  Clearly materials have changed.   A huge difference between Playstation and IDEC is weight. 27 for the cat, 18 for the tri. 

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50 minutes ago, ricwoz said:

Would that make the "ideal" ratio the one where the risk of capsize and the risk of pitchpole are equalized? 

Exactly! 
The trouble is that these probabilities are hard to estimate accurately, so for discovering empirical truth you need a class rule allowing different ratios while keeping the overall power constant. Like fixing the beam+LOA=constant. Or even better: Beam+LOAama1+LOAama2+LOAmain=constant. 

40 minutes ago, ricwoz said:

Besides increasing the length and decreasing the beam on the MOD 70s they also decreased the sail area, decreased the length of the mast...

Yep, need an overall constraint on risk. Or the winner-take-all mentality will overtake any remaining seamanship. Like people advising D35s (a toy boat for Swiss lakes) for R2AK.

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And I’d really like to see a mandatory self-righting system. It’s not hard — an airbag at the top of the mast, canting mast. It just requires over-building the standing rigging chain plates and the like to take the impact.

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I'm not sure the sail area comparisons in my little chart above are apples to apples.   
On some of the other articles about maxi-cats they list upwind and downwind sail area, when neither is specified one wonders which it is. 

Mast height is a decent proxy. 

It sees like the shorter (LOA) and wider tris are faster than then cats which have the same size mast.    That's a rough generalization.  

Maybe their are material issues, but it seems like a 100' cat with a 75 or larger beam would be more competitive with the trimarans. 

 

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1 hour ago, EarthBM said:

And I’d really like to see a mandatory self-righting system. It’s not hard — an airbag at the top of the mast, canting mast. It just requires over-building the standing rigging chain plates and the like to take the impact.

I'd hate to be on the center hull 30+ feet in the air when the boat flips itself upright.. It wouldn't be easy grinding the mast running backs to flip the boat upright when the cockpit is almost upside down and over 3 stories above the water. 

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1 hour ago, ricwoz said:

I'm not sure the sail area comparisons in my little chart above are apples to apples.   
On some of the other articles about maxi-cats they list upwind and downwind sail area, when neither is specified one wonders which it is. 

Mast height is a decent proxy. 

It sees like the shorter (LOA) and wider tris are faster than then cats which have the same size mast.    That's a rough generalization.  

Maybe their are material issues, but it seems like a 100' cat with a 75 or larger beam would be more competitive with the trimarans. 

 

to be strong enough it would be way too heavy. beams in excess of the 2x1 proportion, specially on a cat the size you propose, don't seem very feasible imho.

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1 minute ago, soma said:

Alinghi was 130x90

true, but it was a highly specialized ultralight  boat, made for light breeze, not sailing the southern ocean while going rtw.

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3 hours ago, JanetC Gougeon32 said:

I'd hate to be on the center hull 30+ feet in the air when the boat flips itself upright.. It wouldn't be easy grinding the mast running backs to flip the boat upright when the cockpit is almost upside down and over 3 stories above the water. 

It would be fun to watch!

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4 hours ago, JanetC Gougeon32 said:

I'd hate to be on the center hull 30+ feet in the air when the boat flips itself upright.. It wouldn't be easy grinding the mast running backs to flip the boat upright when the cockpit is almost upside down and over 3 stories above the water. 

Won’t need to grind, just release the one on top.

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8 hours ago, ricwoz said:

Gitana 17 is awesome, and basically is using the same architecture as IDEC Sport, but adding foils.  What an amazing machine.  

They are currently on standby for their round-the-world record attempt, waiting for the right weather to set sail.   It's impressive that they seem to have a very small crew: only 5.    So, while we are waiting for the first full foiling record, it's interesting to look back at all the progress made against this record in the last 30 years.   

The baton was passed from the cats to the tris in 2010.   From 1993 to 2010 six boats held the record, five catamarans and only one triarman.   (The last of the group was Orange II, which was dimensionally very similar to Playstation:  121' long, 60' wide. 

Since 2010 three boats have held the record, all of them are tris. 

What changed?  Clearly materials have changed.   A huge difference between Playstation and IDEC is weight. 27 for the cat, 18 for the tri. 

Trimarans are more forgiving, you can push them harder before they are on the edge of no return, Heres a good example.

 

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9 hours ago, gspot said:

Exactly - isn't Gitana 17 a Classe Ultime - 32 metres (~105 ft) long and 23 metres (~75.5ft) wide?

Heres MOD 70 Masarati trying to fly with t rudders, this is outside of the one design, but Soldini has been trying to get more out of his MOD 70

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9 hours ago, EarthBM said:

Like people advising D35s (a toy boat for Swiss lakes) for R2AK

Just to be clear I wasn't saying it was a good idea (and I wouldn't personally want to do this)! Just talking about what might be faster than an M32 (which is also very much not designed for that kind of sailing) on a course like this...

And yes it seems tris are faster because they can be pushed harder, especially in short-handed racing. In theory a cat should be faster for pure speed potential but it seems practice has shown tris are faster for ocean racing, on the other hand cats appear better suited for day racers where they tend to dominate in numbers.

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22 hours ago, ricwoz said:

I don't understand why an "over-square" tri would be more likely to pitchpole.   Aren't the shape of the bows, the buoyancy of the bows and the front-to-rear weight (balance) of the boat the things that designers tweak to counter tendency to capsize? 

Lateral stability exceeds longitudinal stability so when the limit is reached, the bows will bury before the leeward hull goes under (or the boat otherwise goes over sideways), causing a pitchpole.

22 hours ago, ricwoz said:

Is perhaps the real problem that the extra beam gives the ability to overpower and not capsize,  but then extra length is needed to prevent capsize? 

This is why Pacific proas (most weight to leeward) make more sense than Atlantic proas (most weight to windward).  

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1 hour ago, ProaSailor said:

Lateral stability exceeds longitudinal stability so when the limit is reached, the bows will bury before the leeward hull goes under (or the boat otherwise goes over sideways), causing a pitchpole.

This is why Pacific proas (most weight to leeward) make more sense than Atlantic proas (most weight to windward).  

I subscribed to Multihulls Magazine for 10 years, so I remember the occasional proa showing up in there.  I think Dick Newick designed one that someone built. 

The only one I have any familiarity with is the Hawaiian outrigger canoe.   And that's mostly from watching the Hawaii Five Oh opening sequence. 


When they sail outrigger canoes the keep the ama (which is heavy, I know from messing around with the on the beach) always to leeward?     And when they paddle it's always on the left (port)?

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On 11/9/2020 at 1:17 AM, boardhead said:

As I recall - please correct me if you remember otherwise - the Mod 70 was created in an effort to revive ORMA 60 which had run out of steam largely due to escalating costs and, from a spectators standpoint, the utter dominance of Frank Cammas turning the racing into a procession. 

Open classes yield much more rapid development, within simple constraints to discourage the dominence of size and money.

The simple box rule of ORMA 60 did give us an era of truly amazing boats and sailers who greatly refined the art whilst pushing the envelope to their destruction  - that Route du Rhum being a real wake up.

On a few points -

The 70 foot length was just a way to eliminate the sprit, same ama length.

The curved, lifting, ama foil made for safer, short handed power reaching rather than placing more volume in the ama bows with the more destructive platform loading that creates.

Everyone laughed at Geants stearing station windshields before she won, demonstrating the importance of preserving crew performance.

The Route du Rhum disaster led to the control of the use of high modulus carbon with it's high cost and lack of shock absorbing toughness.

.

 

The MOD 70 was one design to reduce costs and level playing field while making boat safer and easier to sail.All the usual reasons for OD.

I believe the 70ft length was more about increasing diagonal stability, i think the first curved lifting foils were on ORMA 60 the straight lifting foils might have started with Dick Newick.

After the 2002 Route Du Rhum Nigel Irens wrote an article on the structural failures with nomex cores from those who hove to and were smashed by waves. Those who kept sailing did much better than those who didn't.

He believed the nomex carbon was too stiff he went for Airex foam in critical areas which has better energy absorbing properties. Don't know if that foam was suitable for high temp curing with pre pregs back then which might be why they went away from it.

Can't find old interview with Nigel i know he used lessons from the 2002 failures with designing Ellens solo round the world Tri.

Professional boatbuilder mentions this change to Airex from Nomex. https://pbbackissues.advanced-pub.com/?issueID=90&pageID=64

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

30 years ago Florence Arthaud won the Route Du Rhum with this 60ft Trimaran.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florence_Arthaud

It was races like OSTAR, RDR,TJV and RBR which allowed the pioneers of multihulls to create these fantastic boats.

 

1990 rdr.jpg

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