Friday August 17 2007 / Science & Technology

Alain Thébault is the skipper and pilote of the Hydroptère. He is reported to be half-mad or half-wise - depending on the tide - but Alain Thébault had a dream: to create a flying boat.

In the sailing world, there are many Ulysses: Sailors who know how make it through the tempest and to use a bit of cunning with the technical and human elements to arrive safe and sound.

But Alain Thébault is the only living Icarus among the oceanic skippers. He has an inventive fever and a burning desire to fly close to the sun . . . an he is very close to achieving that aim with Hydroptère.

The goal is to break 50 knots under sail and the 'boat has already been clocked at over 47 knots.

Hydroptère is already the fastest sailing boat in the world over one nautical mile with a recognised average speed of 41.69 knots. (Interestingly, the previous record holder was Bjorn Dunkerbeck’s who managed a very impressive 41.14 knots on a sailboard!)

For more information about this amzing project, please visit www.hydroptere.com

Suggested by
Ian Skellern