l’Hydroptère DCNS, the fastest yacht on the planet which arrived in California in July in a bid to secure the Transpacific Record (Los Angeles - Honolulu), set the nautical mile speed sailing record around the legendary San Francisco Bay on 31 August 2012.
Alain Thébault, designer and skipper of l’Hydroptère DCNS, and his crew, Jean Le Cam, Jacques Vincent, Yves Parlier, as well as several other sailors, were the first to establish the San Francisco Bay nautical mile speed record (1,852 kilometres). Friday, in the early afternoon (local time), l’Hydroptère DCNS covered this distance at an average speed of 37,5 knots* (or 69,5 km/hr), making her first mark in this iconic bay that sweeps California.
With the record in the bag, Alain Thébault and his men then took part in the Ronstan Bridge to Bridge Race organised by the St Francis Yacht Club. Theirs was a symbolic participation because, for safety reasons, l’Hydroptère DCNS set off a few minutes before the official start given the horde of windsurfers, kitesurfers and sports dinghies. Basically Alain Thébault and his crew remained at the head of the fleet from beginning to end and managed to thwart the numerous pitfalls dotted along the seven miles or so of course between Golden Gate Bridge and Bay Bridge. The crew were able to tease the potential from the flying trimaran despite the current, the big chop and the very deep running conditions. They successfully got around the wind shadow of the island of Alcatraz and then flew along to the finish line.
This comes as the first reward for Alain Thébault, skipper and designer of l’Hydroptère DCNS and his crew in their preparation for the project’s major offshore challenge, which will involve trying to set the Transpacific Record between Los Angeles and Honolulu. The ultimate aim is to demonstrate the offshore potential of ‘flying’ sail boats.
* Alain Thébault has held the outright speed sailing record over one nautical mile (50.17 knots at an average of 95km/hr) since 2009.
* record awaiting approval by the YRA (Yacht Racing Association).
by Stéphanie André
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12:00 PM Mon 3 Sep 2012GMT
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