First ever student team to compete in Little America’s Cup

Published on February 27th, 2015

(February 27, 2015) – Born as the International Catamaran Challenge Trophy in 1961, the 27th edition of the event will be hosted by Société Nautique de Genève in Geneva, Switzerland from 12 to 19 September.

Now known as the International C Class Challenge Cup (and Little America’s Cup or Little Cup), the event is sailed in the double-handed C Class catamaran, a development class with three maximum measurement limits: 25 ft long, 14 ft wide, and 300 sq ft sail area.

Seeking to join the competition is a Canadian effort born in autumn 2013 by students from the École de Technologie Supérieure (ETS) in Montreal.

The “RAFALE” C-class catamaran project is supported by Julien Chaussée, a former member of the British “Invictus” team, and Simon Joncas, a professor at ETS and specialist in composite materials, in addition to 20 undergraduate BAcc and MAcc students who are at work to design and build this catamaran at the forefront of technology.

With an estimated budget of $130,000, the C-Class catamaran project is a big challenge to compete with a completely new “Made-in Quebec” boat. Thanks to key partnerships with companies that are providing high quality materials and services to the team, the boat will be on the water for the summer of 2015.

With this boat, the Montreal team will be the first ever student team to compete at the race and thus defy well-established teams such as Groupama, Hydros or Airbus.

During these two years of preparation, students are involved in the design and construction of the entire boat in the school’s workshops. The task has to be done within a relatively short time, on nights and weekends, because the participation in the project is in addition to being enrolled in a full-time engineering program.

The team will manufacture the rudders and daggerboards as hydrofoils, as did some competitors that have already brought this technology at the latest edition of the Little Cup in 2013 in Falmouth (England). The development of hydrofoils by team “RAFALE” is a success, since first the first hydrofoil manufactured in the fall allowed a first flight during testing in November 2014 on a 20ft sport catamaran. The fabrication of the foil was made in partnership with Mystery Composite, a catamaran builder near Montréal.

The construction is now in full swing and many parts are ready to be assembled. The launch is scheduled for May in Montreal in order to ensure a workout than 3 months will be in the Montreal area, before sending the catamaran by container to Geneva.

To ensure professionalism and competitiveness, team “RAFALE” is affiliated with two former members of the Canadian 49er team, Marc Farmer and Tej Trevor Parekh, which will sail the boat during the 10 days of competition. The team is following the footsteps of their great Canadian brothers, Fred Eaton and Magnus Clarke, who won the 2007 Toronto event, the 2010 Newport event, and were third at the 2013 Falmouth event.

The team is still looking for partners and sources of funding to complete the budget for the competition. Become a partner or support the project by making a donation:

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