By Kimball Livingston Posted June 13, 2015
I saw only one helmet aboard the trimaran, Lending Club. That’s because only one person at a time goes up the mast. I didn’t notice any divots . . .
The lead photograph comes from Lending Club Sailing, btw. The other snaps are mine.
Originally a Groupama, later one of the Banque Populaires, Lending Club has a hole in the calendar after setting a new 635-mile Newport to Bermuda record that lops 15 hours off the old mark. Next in the racing sked comes a start on July 18 in the Transpac, Los Angeles to Honolulu. Target travel time for a calculated 2,225 miles four days and change.
Do the math.
The boat is 105-feet long, and its average speed, Newport to Bermuda, was 27 knots.
Meanwhile, the big foiler, Hydroptere, has been on standby in Long Beach looking for a weather window to sail the course . . .
And waiting for a weather window is a very different mind set from starting on a specified day, at a specified hour, when the shotgun fires on Transpac’s traditional signal boat, Warrior II.
For a course record, Hydroptere is up against the (beatable) existing, 18-year-old mark of 04:19:31:37, set by Olivier de Kersauson and crew with the 110-foot trimaran, Geronimo, in 2005.
Next up, Lending Club’s shot at the Transpac Race record, which could include a course record, if all goes just, just, just right. The mark to beat for the race record is 05:09:18:26, set in 1997 by the 86-foot catamaran, Explorer.
As to that hole in the racing calendar, Lending Club owner Renaud Laplanche and his skipper, Ryan Breymaier, decided to use their down time as up time. They brought the boat to the home waters of Laplanche, San Francisco Bay, where they expect to take 800-900 people sailing.
Because, why not? I mean, a man’s got a boat, and there’s breeze on the bay, and boats are for sailing.
Then it will be time to head south for the Transpac start.
On my ride, the troops got pretty excited when they saw 14 knots. They got excited again at 18. 22. 30!!! By and by, Breymaier and company got the old girl rumbling and I mean literally rumbling for a best-of-the day high of 40.8. I’ve gone that fast under sail before, but not so’s I’m over it. And lots of Lending Club employees are getting rides too. I can’t even imagine the experience, from a nonsailor’s point of view.
The boat felt very loose at that moment, and Breymaier continued to build speed, but somewhere at 39 knots and change I finally heard the request, “Traveler ease.” Crewman Skip McCormack explained that the speed was fine, but it was time to lighten the load on the mainsail system: “We were seeing fourteen tons of load.”
There is, btw, a correct method for moving about the deck and tramp of a big multihull, and it’s not about stepping carefully. That just makes you wobbly. No, the technique is to launch and believe. The technique as demonstrated by McCormack . . .
At calmer speeds of thirtyish knots, the skipper set the kids free to play in the playground. Naturally, you gotta bounce . . .
Or even have a stint at the wheel, while Ryan has your back.
Imagine what this would have looked like circa 1930 . . .
And imagine the gourmet meals to be served from the galley, between Point Fermin and Diamond Head . . .
Meanwhile, this ad has been making the rounds, with a snicker, but, sadly feeding misperceptions as to what our sport is all about.
And what does the genuine Young Man About the Bay wear for sailing?
Connor models the latest:
Footnote to all who follow: Hydroptere did not get the needed conditions in 2915, and they did not come close to a record.