Around Alone winner Giovanni Soldini will be racing his new 60ft trimaran Fila at the Cap d’Agde round of the Orma 9 Telecom Multihull Championships today

Ellen MacArthur’s high profile hop from one hull to three seems to be following something of a trend. In Cap d’Agde this weekend, the Italian winner of the Around Alone 1998-99, Giovanni Soldini, will compete for the first time onboard his new Van Peteghem-Lauriot Prévost designed trimaran. Fila.

Soldini has had the boat for a month and so far, so good. “The boat’s very tidy, we’ve had no nightmares and already it’s a big success.” That said, Soldini was keen to play down expectations out on the track: “The boat’s not ready.”

Fila’s sistership Bonduelle has made little impact on the championship thus far, suggesting extensive sea trials are critical to iron out the inevitable mass of wrinkles present in any hi-tech boat straight out of the box. Fila won’t be competitive. If she is still racing by the end of the regatta on 10 June, the Fila campaign will be delighted.

Bonduelle’s skipper Jean Le Cam and Soldini have worked closely together since the start of their respective projects, both drawing on each other’s wealth of particular knowledge in designing and building the boats. Both boats are built using carbon fibre and epoxy sandwich with a Nomex honeycomb core. The construction was vacuum-bagged to ensure strong lamination, then cured at 120°C in an autoclave.

Her beam (18.6m) exceeds her waterline length (18.4m), a characteristic of the new generation of 60ft trimarans. Both Bonduelle and Fila share the latest development of the mast canting system pioneered by Loick Peyron in the mid 1990s on the the floating speed lab, Fujicolor II. Two huge hydraulic rams at each shroud base haul the mast to windward to squeeze maximum speed out of the conditions.

The wingmast itself is 28.5m with the maximum permitted chord of 850mm. Both masts were built of carbon fibre by Fila’s Bruno Laurent at the Espace Composites yard, Lunel and Antal provided both boats’ deck equipment.

She features a fore-and-aft swinging centreboard that raises her draft from about 1.6m to 5m. The rudder is transom-mounted for greater hydrodynamic efficiency and can be removed in light airs to prevent drag (there are rudders in all three hulls).

Special attention has been paid to the cockpit and it is relatively spacious, making crewed and single-handed racing equally possible. Both boats are fascinating prospects but for now, it’s racing by numbers for Soldini.