The Maxi-Trimaran


The former Groupama 3 and Banque Populaire VII, the IDEC SPORT maxi-trimaran has had an exceptional list of successes. Winner of the Jules Verne Trophy in 2010 and 2012, and again in 2017, the boat also won the last three editions of the Route du Rhum – and many other events. Thirteen years after she was first launched, this strong all-round performer can look forward to a bright future in the expert hands of Francis Joyon.

It was in December 2004 that Groupama announced the construction of a giant trimaran to attempt to smash the major ocean records leading up to the legendary Jules Verne Trophy. At a time when the arms race was on in the sailing world, Groupama wanted to come up with a reasonably sized boat, the smallest trimaran capable of beating Orange II. Franck Cammas and his team opted for a length of 31.50 metres (105 feet) designed by the architects, Marc Van Peteghem and Vincent Lauriot-Prévost.

Work began on Groupama 3 in 2005 at the Multiplast yard in Vannes. After almost 130,000 man hours, the boat was launched on 7th June 2006. “We decided to design a medium power trimaran,” stressed Cammas when presenting his project. ”Groupama 3 is light, but long enough to be safe in the Southern Ocean. The power comes from her width, while her light weight is down to optimising her structure, rationalising the equipment and paying attention to how she was built.” Groupama 3 innovated with her concept inspired by the 60-foot ORMA trimarans (like Groupama 2) ratehr than the more recent giants, which were heavier and designed to face the Southern Ocean. While Orange II (36.80 metres) was amazing in heavy seas, she found it tougher in lighter conditions and moderate winds.
Groupama 3 was a strong all-rounder and could sail almost as quickly in strong winds, while remaining at ease in lighter weather. There was another new feature: Groupama 3 was the very first big multihull to set off around the world with foils, a concept only used until then on the Orma boats in the Atlantic.


Architects: VPLP team (Van Péteghem-Lauriot Prévost)
Previous names: Groupama 3, Banque Populaire VII
Length: 31.50 m
Beam: 22.50 m
Displacement: 18,000 kg
Draught: 5.70 m
Mast height: 33.50 m
Structure: carbon-Nomex
Upwind sail surface: 411 m2
Downwind sail surface: 678 m2
Initial launch date: June 2006

The boat which has won the Route du Rhum three times

In 2010, Franck Cammas took up a challenge which many people thought impossible, or at best very complicated: he wanted to win the Route du Rhum, sailing alone on his 31.5m maxi trimaran which was equipped with a shorter rig and with a more suitable deck layout.
Cammas’s performance was amazing: after nine days 3 hrs 14 mins 47 seconds, he finished first in Pointe-à-Pitre ahead of Francis Joyon and Thomas Coville.

The boat was then sold and became Banque Populaire VII. Relaunched on 15th April 2013 in Lorient, the boat achieved more successes in the hands of Armel Le Cléac’h, who smashed several solo records aboard her: the Mediterranean record, Columbus Route and 24-Hour record (682 miles). After injuring his hand, Armel Le Cléac’h was forced to stand down for the Route du Rhum and was replaced at the last moment by Loïck Peyron at the helm of the maxi trimaran, which had won the previous edition of the prestigious transatlantic race. After a fantastic race, Peyron won the tenth edition of the Route du Rhum with a time of 7 days, 15 hrs 8 minutes and 32 seconds.

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