See pictures of the world's first oceanic trimaran designed to foil offshore, as Maxi Edmond de Rothschild is launched in south west Brittany

It was an emotional moment for the team who have spent the last 21 months building the 32-metre long Maxi Edmond de Rothschild.

This groundbreaking trimaran, which is predicted to take offshore sailing into a whole new era, was craned into the water on Monday morning (17 July) at Vannes in south west Brittany.

Skipper of the Gitana Team, Sébastien Josse, will now have several months to get to grips with his new vessel, before he takes part in the double-handed Transat Jacques Vabre yacht race between Le Havre and Salvador de Bahia in Brazil with Thomas Rouxel in November.

A blue and white maxi trimaran is moved with a crane under a blue sky

Craned into the water. Credit: Yvan Zedda

Over the next two years, Josse will notably participate in the Route du Rhum (2018) and then the first ever single-handed round the world race created for these Ultime multihulls, which is scheduled for 2019.

“There is a large unknown element and lots of things are being trialled here for the first time,” explained Josse.

“We’re going to have to become ever greater, come face to face with this boat and listen to each other in order to get a full grasp of what’s going on,” he continued.

“In due course, the race around the world in 2019 will bring to the fore the pressure of competition, which will thrill us, not only through the technological element but through the incredible human adventure in what is a truly pioneering ambiance,” added Josse.

Unsurprisingly, the public were out in force on Monday to witness the launch of Maxi Edmond de Rothschild as it was craned into the water.

The trimaran was designed by French naval architect Guillaume Verdier, who was responsible for New Zealand’s winning America’s Cup catamaran, the new foil-assisted ocean racing monohull for the 14th Volvo Ocean Race, and was also behind the first foiling monohulls from the last Vendée Globe.

He worked in collaboration with the Gitana Team design office to create the trimaran, which is 23-metres wide and is capable of speeds of up to 50-knots.

Part of the Gitana Team’s long-term strategy has been the ambition of flying offshore.

a crew helps put a mast in place on a maxi trimaran

The mast is put in place. Credit: Yvan Zedda

“The initial idea was to design the first oceanic boat capable of flying with unfailing reliability,” explained Verdier. “There are trim tabs on all the appendages. The central daggerboard has one too, a lifting surface in the form of a skate wing in order to increase stability still further when heeling and rolling.”

“That is a huge amount for Sébastien (Josse) to trim. He’s going to have to go at it in stages, learn how far is reasonable enough and also what hand to play when the seas are too heavy,” he added.

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Maxi Edmond de Rothschild has six L-shaped foils.

Each measures five metres in height and three metres in breadth (the largest ever built). There are also T-foil rudders, which help lift the boat out of the water.

These T-foil rudders will be retractable so not to impede the boat’s ability to slip through the water. They also minimise the risk of breakage.

The Maxi Edmond de Rothschild is equipped with three planing hulls with inverted bows and flat bottoms, in order to increase the ability to fly and provide excellent stability in heavy seas. The central hull and floats have a high freeboard for improved protection at sea.

A man dressed in black stand on one of the hulls of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild trimaran

Credit: Yvan Zedda

The cockpit is streamlined, and helps retain the boat’s aerodynamic look. There is a protected living pod back from the central hull, which will be the main accommodate for the skipper when sailing singlehanded.

When sailing with crew, bunks are provided down below, inside the central hull.

Following the launch, the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild made for her home port of Lorient.

This is where her mast was built and awaited her arrival, surrounded by all the people who manufactured the 35-metre spar capable of carrying up to 650m2 of sail area.

Technical Specifications:

LOA: 32 metres
Width: 23 metres
Top speed: 50 knots
Sail area: 650m2
Man hours to build: 170,000 hours over 20 months
Number of foils: 6 (each 5 metres high and 3 metres wide)