A Tender Spot

By Kimball Livingston Posted June 22, 2015

Care to crack a guess at what resides at 33.698825 – 118.291682 ?

If you said Point Fermin Lighted Whistle Buoy 6PF you’d be spot on, and you’d be right in tune with the folks from Transpac Yacht Club who set up a station today, ashore, at the Point Fermin Lighthouse planning to draw a bead on the buoy and thereby establish a starting line for Hydroptere’s run at the course record, Los Angeles to Honolulu, Point Fermin to Diamond Head.

Imagine their surprise when –

Out of the breakwater and past Angel’s Gate comes l’Hydroptere, and down the coast from the opposite direction comes a Coast Guard buoy tender which proceeds to deploy its crane and lift Point Fermin Lighted Whistle Buoy 6PF right out of the water and onto the deck. So here’s Transpac past commodore Dave Cort on the phone telling the story about dealing with his French friends aboard l’Hydroptere:

“We needed to be sure we were communicating clearly, in English, so we had the guys put [wind energy guru] Don Montague on the radio and we explained the situation. We had a fix on the ship. It wasn’t moving. So, technically, the buoy was still on station.

“Don says, ‘The big black thing?’

“Yep.”

Looked like this.

Photo by Jerry  Montgomery

Photo by Jerry Montgomery

Easier to spot than a buoy by itself, and so they’re off, at last, on a journey that Hydroptere owner-developer Alain Thébault has been aiming for since 2013, when the records set previously by his big brute of a foiler were eclipsed by a one-way mosquito named Sailrocket.

Now what?

You can follow on the tracker here

CIEKvn1VAAI8xg5And you can cross your fingers on behalf of Alain and his crew that they won’t hit anything harder than water in the next four days. Yep, four days to Hawaii is the target, and they can do it at speeds that are just loafing on this boat. But –

The old record would have been broken during the 2013 Transpac Race if not for collisions with floating debris. That was the story for John Sangmeister with Tritium Racing, and John turned out today to see Hydroptere on its way.

This is anecdotal, but I’m convinced that every Transpac in recent memory has notched upward in the number of boinks per crossing, and that trend was there before the Japanese tsunami.

But, these dreamers are doers.

It’s a couple years out of date, but the boat-stuff is current, and the post got dragged through a redesign, so parts of it no longer fit together quite right BUT enough apologizing, already. Here is an inside look at our big French foiler – Inside l’Hydroptere that brings a few points home.

The early going yesterday in the inner coastal waters wasn’t especially quick, but the boys cleared the west end of Catalina in the daylight and by dawn Tuesday were well at sea and averaging speeds in the high teens.

YEE HAW and –

Shantih. Shantih. Shantih.

Suns New Jerseys