Extraordinary boats: Banque Populaire XI

Rupert Holmes gets the inside line on the new Banque Populaire XI the latest Ultime from the French banking giant

Banque Populaire is one of the world’s most experienced and successful sailing teams, and was the force behind Armel Le Cléac’h’s 2016 record-breaking Vendée Globe victory, they now have a new Ultime trimaran in the form of Banque Populaire XI.

Only a year after her launch, the previous giant trimaran Banque Populaire IX crashed out of the 2018 Route du Rhum in spectacular fashion, having already capsized once before, and was declared an insurance write off after being towed in broken chunks back to shore.

Much has been learned from the experience with that boat and the new vessel incorporates radical improvements that put it a big leap ahead of her predecessor in terms of both performance and, more importantly, safety and reliability.

Banque Populaire Xl is the result of a colossal 150,000 hours of design and construction
work. Photo: J Lecaudey/BPCE

Like Banque Populaire IX, this boat was conceived with a single objective in mind – for one person to sail round the world faster than anyone else. The record to beat is 42 days, 16 hours set by François Gabart in 2017.

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