L'Hydroptère's Crew Will Attempt Transpacific Record

French trimaran l'Hydroptère sets the bar pretty high when it comes to flying boats. Come summer 2013, her crew aims to break the Transpacific record, sailing from Los Angeles to Honolulu.
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French trimaran l'Hydroptère sets the bar pretty high when it comes to flying boats. Come summer 2013, her crew aims to break the Transpacific record, sailing from Los Angeles to Honolulu.

 Thébault, Parlier, Le Cam and Rob Douglas aboard l'Hydroptère on the San Francisco Bay in 2012

Thébault, Parlier, Le Cam and Rob Douglas aboard l'Hydroptère on the San Francisco Bay in 2012

Starting at the end of May, Skipper Alain Thébault, who also designed the boat, Jean Le Cam, Yves Parlier and Jacques Vincent will be on standby for the ideal weather to start the journey. They’ll rely on the Pacific anticyclone and active thermal winds of the season to propel the boat on the most direct route to Hawaii. They hope to beat the current record, set in 1997, of five days, nine hours, 18 minutes and 26 seconds.

L'Hydroptère currently resides in Alameda, east of the San Francisco Bay, and will be launched in early May for the sail down to L.A., the final opportunity to test her “technical finetuning,” says a press release from April 17. The crew will train there until it’s time to set sail.

The boat was brought to California from the Mediterranean a year ago for the same Transpacific attempt but arrived too late to catch the favorable weather window in June and July. She sat in SF Bay, where she was the first to fly at over 45 knots, during the America’s Cup, where AC72s are being trained to take off, too.

 L'Hydroptère flies over the San Francisco Bay

L'Hydroptère flies over the San Francisco Bay

At 10 knots, enough buoyant force builds up for l'Hydroptère's wings to lift her out of the water. She racked up a number of records since her first flights in the 90s with Le Cam and Parlier aboard. In 2009, she broke the speed record for 500 meters with an average 51.36 knots and was the first sailboat to cross the 50-knot sailing speed with 56.3 knots in 2008. Post-Transpacific, Thébault and crew have more record-breaking voyages in store for l'Hydroptère.

For more informoration about the boat, visit hydroptere.com.

Photos by Christopher Launay

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