On paper the Banque Populaire Maxi is the world’s largest racing trimaran at 40m LOA, so big in fact that she could fit an ORMA 60 on to her foredeck (if she had one). Given that with maxis, both mono and multi, the longer they are the more powerful they get, so the potential breakages increase exponentially. it appeared when we first heard about this new beast that skipper Pascal Bidegorry had turned megalomaniac and her crew would be spending as much time fixing the boat as sailing her.
In fact after a day out on board, we can confirm that we only blew up one runner block and judging from the way the crew drive it – Bidegorry and helmsman Yvan Ravussin cranking what is probably the world’s fastest offshore race boat up to 22 knots upwind in around 16 knots true and flying the main hull (we got the full experience) – they are not as terrified of their new weapon as one might expect. In fact in theory the loads on the present Jules Verne Trophy record holder, Bruno Peyron’s Orange 2 should be larger as despite the two boats being similar length and Orange 2 having one less hull, her 35 tonne displacement is over 10 tonnes more than the new Banque Pop.
Obviously being the latest so-called G-Class maxi-multihull, Banque Populaire conforms to no rule. However there are limitations. Traditionally this is the size of the sail plan the crew can manage, but we understand that this was not the case here.