Honolulu, HI (July 3, 2015) – The 60-foot foiling trimaran Hydroptere left Los Angeles on Monday June 22 and has just arrived in Honolulu after a crossing of more than 2215 nautical miles (4102 km). Hydroptere becomes the first flying hydrofoil to cross an ocean.
The transpacific speed record from Los Angeles to Honolulu, Hawaii was not beaten as the weak wind conditions along the route did not allow the trimaran to achieve high cruising speeds. The outright record is 04:19:31:37, set by skipper Olivier de Kersauson (FRA) and crew on the 110-foot trimaran Geronimo in November 2005. The Hydroptere passage took nearly 11 days.
The challenge of this first crossing was of a different nature. Despite clearly unfavorable conditions, Alain Thébault and his crew took the decision to go not to miss a historic encounter. Within a few hours, André Borschberg aboard Solar Impulse, the first 100% solar energy powered aircraft, in turn, will land in Hawaii. An exceptional encounter will take place between two legendary vessels, one powered by the energy from the sun and the other one by that of the wind. Two hightech monsters, two pioneers in their field and a single message: “use clean energy. »
For over 25 years, Alain Thébault has been pursuing his childhood dream: to make sailboats fly. From the first wooden models in the early eighties, to absolute sailing speed records in 2009, Hydroptere became the ambassador of sailboats with hydrofoil technology.
In 2009, the French trimaran became the fastest sailboat in the world with peaks at over 100 km/h on a flat sea. Today it is aboard the same sailboat that Alain Thébault, Jacques Vincent and four American crew members, Don, Joe, Jay and Will just crossed 2,215 nautical miles (4,102 km) in pure ocean conditions.
This ocean crossing is notable as hydrofoil sailboats to date have been confined to high performance on flat water.
“This is a historic moment,” remarked Thébault. “I promised André and Bertrand to be in Hawaii to greet them upon arrival. We knew the wind was going to be weak. The crossing should have been much shorter but from the second day, we were forced to make a major detour far to the south to avoid an impressive debris plate. Without this decision, we would have broken the boat.
“We still made peaks at over 35 knots the first days. It is obviously frustrating but we had to make the choice of reason. We will get back on stand-by in Long Beach as soon as possible. With favorable winds, the current record is within the reach of Hydroptere. However, in any adventure, you need a bit of luck. I am very happy because this year, the Pacific has kindly let us through.”
Note: The transpacific speed record from Los Angeles to Honolulu, Hawaii is separate from the 2,225nm Transpac Race record which is 5d 9h 18m 26s, set during the 1997 event by the 86′ maxi cat Explorer.