Another 'Round-the-World' Record Attempt, Groupama

Discussion in 'Multihulls' started by brian eiland, Jan 25, 2008.

  1. brian eiland
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    brian eiland Senior Member

    Structure Failure looks likely

    It does appear as though she broke an ama beam and that caused the capsize. This well could have resulted from the reported nasty waves and her slower speed at the time.

    Lucky she was so close to shore as further out could put her out of helo rescue range

    New Zealand TV clip
    NZ news clip

    Such a shame, as it will be interpeted by a lot of other folks as another 'black mark' against multihulls, rather than a serious look at what these vessels have accomplished in the last few years under extraordinary conditions.

    Two subject threads at "Sailing Anarchy"
  2. Pericles
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    Pericles Senior Member

    Just in on the website.

    "We have just capsized. The leeward float broke in two, leading to the breakage of the two beams and then the subsequent capsize. The crew is all together, taking refuge inside the central hull of Groupama 3. None of the 10 crew are injured. There are 5 to 7 metre waves and 25 to 30 knot winds. The seas are breaking and for the time being we're not putting anyone outside".

  3. brian eiland
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    brian eiland Senior Member

    Scuttlebutt had this photo

    Attached Files:

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  4. brian eiland
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    brian eiland Senior Member

    Bit of a conflicting story, and being quoted fromk the same source;
    In an interview just broadcast on New Zealand television, skipper Franck Cammas explained that the hull beams initially sheared and then the whole port hull broke away causing the trimaran to capsize.

    Sea conditions were described as moderate in the area with about five to seven metre seas running, with 30 kts of wind. According to a report on the Franck Cammas-Groupama website the leeward float beams fractured causing the leeward (port) hull to shear off

    So what failed first??
  5. DGreenwood
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    DGreenwood Senior Member

    The engineer???
  6. Pericles
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    Pericles Senior Member

    This is from their website.

    Trimaran Groupama 3: Light is right.

    Vincent Lauriot-Prévost, one of the designers of Franck Cammas' trimaran, from within the architectural firm VPLP, explains the approach which prevailed in the creation of Groupama 3.

    "The priority has been on designing a multihull, which can be manipulated by a crew of ten people and therefore not enter into the nature of the length which was in force: Groupama 3 is not a maxi multihull! It's a trimaran, which is also heavily inspired by Groupama 2, the 60 foot Orma: with the adoption of foils and the installation of three rudders, with a wide, open cockpit and a proportionally moderate sail plan. As a result, we opted for a relatively small boat which is rather light, progressive and very reactive. The deck plan enables the crew to manoeuvre faster in order to adjust the sail area to changes in condition and hence permanently exploit the trimaran's potential.

    As the record programme included above all the Jules Verne Trophy, it was necessary to take into account the `Southern ocean' parameter: the foils are far forward so that the boat is nose up, the freeboard is high to prevent the bow from burying, the height of the mast limits the trim changes. The balance when sailing is considerably safer than on a 60 foot Orma... "

    Technical specifications
    LOA/ Beam 31.50 m / 22.50 m
    Weight (Jules Verne Trophy conditions) 18 tonnes
    Air draft 41 m
    Boom length 12 m
    Draft 5.70 m

    Sail area surface (Incidences sails)
    Mainsail 356 m2
    Solent 201 m2
    Gennaker 472 m2

    Habitable surface (interior of central hull) : 13 m2

    Home port Lorient
    Launch June 2006
    Race number 3

    Decoration Odouce - Jean-Baptiste Epron

    10 people

    Architects and engineers having participated in the design
    Cabinet Van Peteghem - Lauriot Prévost (VPLP)
    design office in collaboration with Martin Fisher, HDS,
    Mick Kermarec, Guillaume Verdier, Bernard Pointet,
    Yann Roux and Team Groupama

    Construction yards
    Multiplast, for the platform, daggerboard and rudder on the central hull
    Lorima, for the mast
    AMCO, for the rudders and floats
    Profil Composites, for the foils

  7. Pericles
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    Pericles Senior Member

  8. Chris Ostlind

    Chris Ostlind Previous Member

    Much to Discover

    I find it very interesting to note that the leeward ama broke just aft of the forward beam near the location of the banana lifting foil trunk. The notes on the web page indicate that location from the comments made by Cammas below:

    "This Monday morning (late Sunday night UT), we gybed very close to the New Zealand coast by adopting a tack, which was designed to distance us from the worst of the low that was ahead of us. We set off on starboard tack, due East with 25-30 knots of wind: we were making good speed at over thirty knots on seas, which had calmed down. At the helm Franck Proffit was on watch with Fred Le Peutrec and Jan Dekker. The leeward float broke just aft of the forward beam. There was a very quick chain reaction and within ten seconds the float had taken the beam with it and that too broke.

    I was on rest watch up forward, when I heard the shouts on deck: "Gybe!" and I felt the boat heel over... I had reached the hood when everyone starting hurrying to come inside: we capsized in the space of ten seconds. It was broad daylight, which enabled us to see what had happened.

    There was nothing left to leeward and Franck immediately tried to gybe, but the manoeuvre became impossible as the float instantly filled with water: without any support downwind, Groupama 3 capsized relatively slowly onto the side with the flooded, broken float to port. The crew who were on deck, since the standby watch immediately went up top to make an emergency gybe, all had time to go below, Franck last. It was necessary for the whole crew to be inside the boat as it turned over so as to limit the risk..."

    These guys are very fortunate that this happened a mere 80 miles offshore of the South Island of New Zealand and that the water was decently warm at this time of year. There will be a lot to discover when they get the parts back during salvage.

    Attached Files:

  9. Pericles
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    Pericles Senior Member

    Might the foil in the port ama have suffered a collision earlier in the voyage thus permitting high pressure water inside the ama to finally rupture the weakened structure? Are air pressure sensors fitted inside the amas to detect water leaks? Were there any watertight compartments in the amas? Three beams per ama and thicker layups around attachment points?

    The information, if made available, would be invaluable to us in the outside world, but Formula One car builders are very cagey about their research and the same probably applies in the Jules Verne fraternity.

    "within ten seconds the float had taken the beam with it and that too broke."

    Did the rear section of the ama continue to stay attached to the aft beam, or did both beams break eventually?

    Watch "Birth of a Maxi"

  10. Chris Ostlind

    Chris Ostlind Previous Member

    Much to Learn

    All, interesting questions, P. Some of them are only going to find answers within the engineering guys of VPLP and Multiplast. I'm not holding my breath as to a revelation of reality from that fraternity, though the Groupama website has been amazingly forthcoming with the story from Cammas and that gives me hope.

    Keep in mind that I am not an engineer, I just play one with my designs of small multihulls where the loads and realities are of much smaller consequence...

    Looking at the way the ama is built and the way the G3 sails when at speed, I see that the designers of the boat had to put quite a bit of structure into the ama at the point where the lifting foil trunk resides. All of the forward half of the G3 rides on that foil when in lift mode, with the other weight sitting well aft on the vaka and same, leeward ama. That's a mountain of load funneling through that foil and the trunk-to-ama structural makeup.

    The sea states that existed when the boat broke-up were reported to be winds of 30-35 knots and seas of 7 meters. Obviously, these are very heavy load pattern generators that are shifting on and off the foil/ama structure as the boat encounters swell-trough compression.

    I see a long lever well out forward of the most beefy mounting point at the forward beam location and a heavily flexed and loaded foil trunk aft of the beam mount location. To me, this looks like a classic case of a huge lever (the bow of the ama) pumping monster loads into the ama, rotating about the fulcrum of the froward beam location. When coupled with the separate loads of the foil trunk, the natural breakage point would be just in front of the trunk mounting point where the laminates transition from the trunk to the beam mount applications.

    This loading would happen every time the foil was in compression at the bottom of a wave trough and the long bow was climbing into the backside or face of the next waveform. If, as you suggest, the box/foil had been seriously impacted for one reason or another during the preceding journey, then an inherent weakness would exist in the shattered carbon laminates.

    The fact that the beams, themselves, had been called into question as far back as the Cape of Good Hope off Africa, further suggests that the ama movement would have been enhanced in the aft sections of the boat, potentially further exciting the lever action previously suggested in this post.

    I just look at things from a practical point of view and these scenarios look to be reasonable. Of course, the boat, once returned to shore and examined by the engineers and builders themselves, will yield far more information and likely lead to a substantial redesign of the structural components and style of sailing a boat of this type in the conditions mentioned.

    All these guys in the design/build area of G3 are to be commended for their Go-For-It attitude. I'm more than happy that all crew were rescued in great shape and that the boat is in a place where it can be salvaged. What a great laboratory for learning about this level of craft. There is much to learn from this episode.

    My last observation is that the two previous maxi-tris of Coville and Joyon, did not opt for ama mounted lifting foils for their RTW sailing attempts. Clearly, they both chose to limit the number of high-tech issues for their boats and saw only added issues for the foil's needs that exceeded the potential of the benefit. Coville's boat suffered totally non-related damage to the structural elements as described in the G3 scenario and as we know, Joyon blasted the route with aplomb in his new machine.
  11. Doug Lord

    Doug Lord Guest


    The type of lifting foils used on this boat were well proven in the ORMA class. Its just a damn shame that this challenge had to end like this-but you can bet that foils on such boats will be used more and more. It is great that the boat stands a good chance of being recovered-the facts of the disaster will be most interesting. And so lucky that this happened where it did and that the guys are all ok.
  12. Chris Ostlind

    Chris Ostlind Previous Member

    Maybe they will be used and maybe they won't, Doug.

    Perhaps you could offer a take as to why Coville and Joyon both decided to not use the lifting foils in their efforts on the same, RTW, course? The lack of lifting foils didn't seem to hamper Joyon's total blasting of the established record, nor did they seem to slow-down the Coville effort prior to the breaking of his ama bow. Keep in mind that Coville established a newly ratified, 24 hour speed distance record just prior to the bow incident. Even running full-tilt with an experienced crew, G3 did not threaten that record.

    From where I sit, it looks like these boats are more than fast without the extra clutter and exposure to the elements that would be required with ama mounted lifting foils.
  13. Doug Lord

    Doug Lord Guest


    This post(by antoine) was from an older thread:
    Sodebo: "have to be careful due to absence of foils"


    Just chanced on a short interview of Thomas Coville, skipper of the new maxi-multihull "Sodebo", the 32m trimaran build for single-handed records.

    Here are a few things he says:
    - boat very easy to sail, very stable
    - however due to relatively modest beam (16.55m vs. 18m for an ORMA 60), and power (379m2 upwind vs. 299m2 for an ORMA 60), she goes a bit too easily on one hull
    - and, DUE TO THE LACK OF FOIL ASSIST, the downwind hull gets very low in the water when the boat lifts on it, which makes one nervous about burying the bow, and "stuffing it" (apparently architects decided to go w/o foil assist for the sake of simplicity / easier to manage for a single sailor, and also due to the lack of experience w foil assist on large multihulls - Groupama 3 being the first of those large crafts to have foil assist)
    - and, due to the lack of foil assist, "it feels a bit frustrating because the boat just does not reach the max speeds than a much shorter ORMA 60 reaches - but it feels like it could reach higher average speeds, for longer"

    And finally a note on Groupama's TOP SPEED: before they broke their foil (apparently due to a glitch in the manufacturing process), the boat reached a top speed of 42.4 knots. Give the foils 2 knots, as per the sailors' comments and experience w/ and w/o it, that's bout 40 knots. Comparable to Orange II which also reached just over 40 knots a couple times.

    - (1) it's pretty impressive that Groupama should be capable, ex foils, of a top speed comparable to that of Orange II, despite having an waterline of just 31.5m vs. 36.8m. It suggests following possibilities: maybe Orange II is just too heavy; maybe there is a "wall" for non-flying hulls around 40 knots.

    - (2) it's pretty impressive that Groupama should have seen a top speed 2 knots higher than Orange II's top speed. If this proves true over a broad range of speeds, then Groupama's potential could well lie a good 48nm over Orange II's. Which is clearly above 800nm, considering that Groupama has already achieved 795 and is a brand new, likely un-tuned boat.

    - (3) it's pretty impressive that a boat of fairly classic design (w due respect to light weight, great aerodynamics, and foil assist), should be able to get to a top speed just 5 knots slower than that reached by specialised craft Hydroptère.
    It really suggests that Hydroptere would do well to finally upgrade its aerodynamics (the main hull or the arms just look too old).
    My personal take here, is that "someone" should try taking a "standard" ORMA trimaran, and fit it w Hydroptere-like foils, and see what one gets! Shouldn't be a problem at least on the surface: similar total mass (Hydroptere given at 6.5 tons on their web site, modern Orma tri's at 6 tons), similar sail area (orma tri 300m2, hydroptere 349m2 but often overpowered), and you'd get all the scale benefits and experience from the orma class, and much better aerodynamics. And the speed when not flying would likely be better
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  14. Chris Ostlind

    Chris Ostlind Previous Member

    All that is simply fascinating to read, Doug, but....

    it does not answer the central question as posed in my prevous post which was, "Perhaps you could offer a take as to why Coville and Joyon both decided to not use the lifting foils in their efforts on the same, RTW, course?"

    You drop a series of statements from Coville and then completely bypass the reality that as the skipper of the boat, which was built to many of his specs, Coville chose to not employ the lifting foils, whatsoever, for his own RTW effort. So the guy, according to your cut and paste efforts, suggests that the boat really, really needs those darn foils, but as one of the design team creating the boat AND also the skipper of same, he flatly refuses to employ said foils. Hmmmmm... very curious.

    Additionally, and also without dispute, you totally ignore the sailling magnificence of Joyon/IDEC and his similarly equipped boat that was developed from a very similar process with the skipper fully engaged in the design aspects of the boat... also deigning to charge the course without lifting foils in his amas. More curious.

    Would you be so kind as to expound on those twin realities and leave out the endless iterations in support of the devices? This is also not a signal to drop the care and manners with which all the posts on this thread have been made. Simply, be so kind as to answer the central question as posed. I think the rest of the guys here would like to hear why they did not use the foils.... in your own words.

    None of this means that Coville will not wheel his repaired boat out of the barn next year with foils in place. Somehow I doubt that, even then. It only means that they were not employed now when he had full capacity to sail the boat in that manner. Now what could cause that scenario for two of the best in the business, while going after the huge rewards of nabbing that record for their sponsors, if the plusses were supposedly so fantastic?

  15. Doug Lord

    Doug Lord Guest


    From the Daily Sail:
    "Since we last wrote about the new Sodebo back in June a few more details have been finalised about the boat. Like its length - 105ft and beam of 54ft. At present the boat won't be fitted with ORMA 60-style curved foils in her floats - although structurally she is set-up to accept them at some stage in the future. "We prefer to wait to get the balance of the boat and for the first attempt next winter we would prefer to have a very simple boat without foils," says Coville. However she will have a canting mast, whereas Francis Joyon's sistership IDEC is not expected to have this go-faster feature."
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