l’Hydroptère DCNS was launched on Tuesday in Los Angeles after a week’s work in the dry in Cabrillo Way Marina, San Pedro. Having arrived in California at the start of July on a cargo ship, the flying trimaran has undergone a whole range of fine-tuning on her appendages. She will now be on weather standby for her transpacific record attempt.
The black scales of l’Hydroptère DCNS have been glistening for some ten days in the Californian sunshine. After having been meticulously prepared by the shore crew on terra firma, the ‘flying fish’ was lifted off the hard and launched this morning off the end of the central pier of the Cabrillo Way Marina in San Pedro.
“The bulk of our technical mission is over. Right now it’s in the hands of the wind gods and our five crew,” admits Warren Fitzgerald, Boat Captain on l’Hydroptère DCNS. “The winter refit began in February in La Ciotat and has just been officially completed here, some 10,000km away, jokes François Cazala, the project’s technical manager.
All the optimisation is complete and the fastest trimaran in the world is just waiting to be rigged, so as she can go flying in the thermal breezes of California. L’Hydroptère DCNS is lighter and boasts increased sail area, some all-sea state foils and incorporating an automatic piloting system for the aft stabiliser, created by DCNS to improve directional stability in heavy seas, something Alain Thébault, Luc Alphand and the crew will be delighted to get their hands on. At that point, the sailors just have to wait for the first favourable weather window to head off for the Catalina Islands, where the tradewinds will enable them to hightail it to Hawaii. Along the way, they’ll be attempting to beat the record set by Olivier de Kersauson, at the helm of Geronimo, which covered the 2,215 nautical miles separating the Fermin Point lighthouse to the South-West of Los Angeles, from the Diamond Head lighthouse offshore of Honolulu, in a time of 4 days, 19 hours and 31 minutes, at an average speed of 19.17 knots (35.5km/hour).
After her launch in San Pedro, the boat was taken to the main pontoon in Rainbow Harbor Marina in Long Beach. The trimaran will be visible to the general public with another legendary boat sharing the same skyline: the enormous Queen Mary.
As regards the weather, a little further to the South-West, hurricane Fabio, with tropical storm Emilia hot on its heels, are neutralising the zone of high pressure for now and really depowering the tradewinds, which are the only passport to Honolulu. The crew is likely to have a slightly clearer picture as regards the next favourable weather window for the record at the end of the next week. In the meantime, sea trials offshore of Long Beach are scheduled to finalise the last few details aboard.
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