Guillaume Verdier, all terrain naval architect



Do not make Guillaume Verdier say what he did not say: engineers and architects, naval or land, hate approximation. So no, contrary to the comments of certain colleagues who have wronged him in New Zealand, he has never affirmed that the New Zealand monohull, of which he is one of the main authors, has exceeded the symbolic bar of 100 km / hour.

A boat without a keel

The performance of this spectacular boat without a keel with weighted foils will therefore remain confidential. On the other hand, the architect, engaged for ten years alongside the New Zealand team which defends its title obtained in 2017, does not hesitate to assert a much faster tomorrow for the sailing race. 130, 150 km / hour? There too, no figure without a basis of serious calculations, but all hopes are allowed.

“If we adopt the strategy of dolphins whose body shape changes with speed, we could make enormous progress”, explains the architect at the dawn of a quiet day, Sunday March 14, since the two scheduled America’s Cup regattas were canceled due to lack of… wind. For now, the two competitors are tied on points: three wins for the Kiwi challenge and three for the Italian boat Luna rossa (1).

New Zealand and French projects

In this New Zealand project, Guillaume Verdier is the“One of the components of the team, with a look at the whole”, but the architect is much more solitary when he sits down at his drawing board for his French inventions. After having designed the most efficient monohulls of the last Vendée Globe, including that of the 2017 winner, Armel Le Cléac’h, he signed the plans for the boats of Charlie Dalin and Thomas Rettant, respectively 2e and 6e of the 2021 edition.

“They were among the fastest boats, but they were unlucky and suffered from totally atypical weather and sea conditions which forced them to considerably reduce performance”, he explains, preferring to retain the positive side of this disappointment. “Nature remains the master of the game, fatigue, the weather and luck are even stronger than us and this is also true for the America’s Cup”, he continues.

Nature remains the patron

The Formula 1 of the America’s Cup, clad with sensors, computers and coaches on the ground, remain in fact subject to the human baton and its hazards. “With these machines, if the coxswain and the chief strategy officer on board miss the start or make a bad decision, it’s screwed up, continues the architect. We have the perfect means to build computerized and high-performance marine drones, but the day it will come to this, I will no longer be there. “

The organizers of the America’s Cup, the oldest sports competition in history, created in 1851, are keeping a close watch. They prohibited the GPS on board, the computer reading of the trajectory of the adversary during the regatta, the communications between the boat and its team ashore during the race. “We are not allowed to calculate the speed of our opponent in training either, continues Guillaume Verdier. You still have to look at the wind and the sky with your eyes and that’s fine. “

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