’Hydroptère DCNS the fastest sailboat on the planet that made it to Californian shores back in July arrived in San Francisco last night.
Co-skippers Jacques Vincent and Alain Thébault. © Thomas Lesage
Deprived of a favourable weather window over the short term for her bid to break the Transpacific record (Los Angeles - Honolulu), Alain Thébault’s crew left its base in Long Beach to continue its training in the legendary San Francisco Bay.
An opportunity for the flying trimaran, accompanied by its title-sponsor DCNS, to cross tacks with the famous AC45s, which will be racing in the bay throughout the week, as well as presenting its technology at the heart of Silicon Valley. l’Hydroptère DCNS arrived today in San Francisco Bay at 4.00 am (local time). Delivered under her own power from Long Beach by Jacques Vincent, Emilie Monthioux, Luc Alphand, Jeff Mearing and Warren Fitzgerald, the flying trimaran joined the port of Tiburon where she’ll be hosted by the Corinthian Yacht Club.
The boat is likely to put in her first tacks around the bay on Thursday on the fringes of the AC World Series. l’Hydroptère DCNS will be visible to the public around the fringes of the AC World Series.
The programme detailing time out on the water and events on shore will be communicated over the course of the week. The training programme and the various imperatives linked to the Transpacific record attempt remain the crew’s priority however.
Alain Thébault - skipper. 'All the sailing we’re doing on l'Hydroptère DCNS is enabling us to further our preparations for the Transpacific record attempt. Deprived of wind so far in our bid to take off for Hawaii, we needed to trial the boat during a delivery spanning several days and it was the perfect moment to head up to San Francisco.
It will also give us the chance to cross tacks with some of these fantastic dragonflies that are the AC45s. We’re keen to see them out manoeuvring on the water, particularly given that we share the same passion for wings. Theirs are in the air whilst ours are in the water! It is with great pride that the whole team is able to present the carbon bird in this temple of sailing.
This is especially true for the volunteer engineers, who have been supporting me for over 20 years, and to Eric Tabarly too, as well as the DCNS’ teams who support us since January, without whom none of this would have been possible.
You can picture yourself flying under Golden Gate Bridge and it’s a bit of a childhood dream come true here. As we await the awaking of the wind god on the route to Hawaii, we’ll endeavour to create some very fine images here.'
Jacques Vincent, the boat’s co-skipper said 'Its has been an important delivery trip, very intense and wet. We left Long Beach under in very sunny conditions and almost no wind. When we entered North California, the weather changed radically with up to 30 knots of wind and tough sea conditions, we were battling upwind for two days, the boat proved again its seaworthiness. During these three days, we tested absolutely everything aboard. The technical systems were in operation constantly so have a lot to analyze for the next few weeks.
On site we’ll be carrying out a few sea trials and doubtless we’ll be gunning for a record time between Golden Gate Bridge and Bay Bridge. Naturally, at the slightest hint of a favourable weather window to Honolulu, we’ll drop back down to position ourselves at Long Beach.'
Luc Alphand, one of the crewmen said 'I’m rounding off my first delivery trip on l’Hydroptère DCNS. It was a real pleasure to trial the boat in these conditions and familiarising myself with night sailing and watch rhythms again… Thus far our focus has been on day sails and the angles downwind in speed configuration, which will be reminiscent of conditions during the record attempt.
In this last instance, we’ve had upwind conditions throughout. I’m impressed to see how well the boat goes.'
l’Hydroptère on the mooring at Corinthian Yacht Club - San Francisco. © Thomas Lesage