Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Attempts: Embouteillage de route Découverte?

(traffic jam on the Discovery Route?)

While Pascal Bidegorry and the crew of Banque Populaire V have been waiting in Cadiz for many weeks, Thomas Coville has only just arrived in La Trinite su mer during the last week or so, and is set to head off on a single-handed attempt at the Discovery Route. So its possible we may see two mega-trimarans racing the clock across the Atlantic when the weather looks good!

Check out Coville's Sodeb'O website for news of his imminent departure.

That's trimaran cool...

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Records: Groupama 3 makes it number 5

Groupama 3 sailed by Franck Cammas and his crew have broken the Mediterranean Crossing record, reducing the crossing time from Marseilles in France to Carthage in Tunisia to 17 hours 15 minutes and 33 seconds (that's an average speed of 26.72 knots) which was 48 minutes and 10 seconds faster than Bruno Peyron and his crew aboard the catamaran Orange 2.

This makes it record number 5 for the 31.5 metre (105 feet) trimaran, the first since she lost a float near New Zealand in an attempt on the round-the-world Jules Verne Trophy.

All the details can be seen on the Groupama website.

Image courtesy of Pline, Wikimedia commons.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Attempts: Tri vs Cat across the Med

As I type this, Franck Cammas and his team aboard Groupama 3 are half-way across the Mediterranean on an attempt to break the north-to-south Mediterranean record (currently held by Bruno Peyron and the maxi-cat Orange II).
This attempt to beat the record held by a catamaran may be prophetic for the challenge facing Cammas in the coming America's Cup deed of gift match. If the rumors are correct Cammas, the multihull brains of the BMW Oracle Racing team will be facing a maxi-cat from the Alinghi team in their battle for the America's Cup...
Watch the Groupama 3 progress on their website.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Voyages: Overnight on a Sprint 750

The Sprint 750 is a lively day-sailer from Corsair Marine, based on their popular Corsair 24 folding trimaran.

Gregg Boone in Texas owns one of these machines, and he described a recent enjoyable outing on a trimaran community website. He gave me permission to re-print his story here, enjoy the read:

"Overnight in a Sprint. I know what you’re thinking – does a Sprint even have a cabin? Depends on your definition of cabin. After the 2nd summer of daysailing on Sundays most weekends, we finally discovered a new element of what we all can enjoy as Corsair and F-boat owners, our first 2 day cruise.
It was Saturday morning in mid September. We had experienced the most brutal week in a vicious year. Stress needed to be released before a mental breakdown occurred. 12:15pm my wife comes up with a brilliant plan, let’s spend the night on the boat . I definitely married the right woman. We had been planning to overnight all summer – and summer she is gone. Started packing food and gear. We love to go tent camping, and go frequently. However we live in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex along with 6.1 million other humans (mostly human, a few I’m not so sure). This means you must have reservations a month in advance to go camping anywhere within a 3 hour drive. But we own a boat that does not require advance notice.
Took about 30 minutes extra to load the extra food and gear aboard. 5:15pm and we are just pulling out of the marina., this is a new experience. My general policy is to go back to the marina when my wife makes me, typically around 6-7pm. She is the First Mate when sailing, however she is the Admiral when deciding when the fleet should return.

We have our Sprint on a lift at the one marina on Lake Ray Roberts north of Dallas. The lake is a Corps of Engineers lake. This means there is very little development allowed. There is one small 30 room hotel, one marina, and not much else built on-shore. The lake shoreline is mainly covered by trees.
There is only 5 knots of wind, got the screecher up going upwind, cool beverage in my hand, just my wife and I, and the stress is starting to be released. We’re not going fast, but we are moving at warp speed into another dimension away from the big city with it’s traffic and stress, and into a relaxing nature experience. Flocks of birds are flying overhead back toward their evening roosts. The trees look greener with the sun getting lower.
Our first anchorage has 4 boats there already, this won’t do. We keep going. 2nd anchorage is right by the dam and I can hear traffic going over it. We keep going. About 10 miles from the marina we come to a horseshoe shaped cove with no one there. The wind has died so I motor in and prepare to drop the “cruising” anchor that I have never used.
North Texas summers can have unpredicted thunderstorms that hit you by surprise. I wanted an anchor that would hold in the killer winds of thunderstorm. I got a 24lb. Delta with 16 lbs of chain. The anchor locker on a Sprint is 4.0” deep. Obviously the Delta is not going to fit in there. When I removed the daysailing anchor and put the cruising anchor onboard I moved them in 2 pieces and shackled them together. The only place the anchor will fit is underneath the cockpit. This is accessible from inside the cabin. You have to sit on the cabin floor bend over, grab heavy anchor and lift up onto the cockpit floor. This is not easy with 16lbs of chain dragging but I manage without smashing fingers or gelcoat. I think maybe this much anchor and chain is overkill!
Anchor sets no problem and I attach the bridle that another group member described to the amas. I put the Coleman stove on the cockpit seat and fire up the burgers. As we eat our dinner we watch the sun set. It’s a brilliant orange-red beauty. Here we sit surrounded by nature, frogs croaking on shore, storks flying over and croaking at us because we are in the middle of their normally deserted cove (I did not know that a bird could croak). He gave up in a few minutes and decided he could share the water with us. It’s 80 degrees and the water is warm.
The sun sets and I see something you cannot see in a city of millions, stars. The moon has not risen yet and we can see thousands of stars. We can even see different colors, some bluish, some reddish. In the city only 10-12 stars are visible. Amazing that most people are scared of the dark and have to have their nightlights on all night.
We have good tunes playing, drinking cold beer watching the brilliant stars. Suddenly I hear loud music. We are offshore of a state park and there are no campsites in this area. It could only be a jerk ski boat with a massive stereo. After a minute I wonder if a ski boat could even carry a system this large. It sounds like a sizable system. I realize it’s a Stevie Ray Vaughn song playing, I love Stevie Ray!!!. Several minutes later I realize it’s not Stevie Ray playing, it’s a live band playing (or maybe a recording of a live band) Stevie’s songs and they are great. Now there is nothing but wilderness around me, no lights of any kind on shore (except or distant radio tower lights). Where could this band be? The only thing possible is the one hotel on the lake, but it’s 1.5 miles away with a hill between us. The wind has dropped to dead calm and the music is carrying across the hill. We can still hear the frogs
singing along with the blues band.
The band quits at 10pm. I don’t know if I’ll ever hear another live band that I love while anchored on my boat without seeing another human again. I feel like Scotty has beamed me to another sparsely inhabited planet. I’m amazed to be only 50 miles from downtown Dallas and to be alone with nature (well with a blues band in hearing range). And the stress of my regular world has vanished. The stars have never looked prettier. The moon rises and seems to be 3 times the size it normally is, or is it magnified by the Dos Equis? We’ll never know. Now I know another element of the magic of our boats, the other dimension of a world completely separate from the stress of the everyday, the world at anchor. There is no traffic, no deadlines, no decisions to strain about except do I want the next Dos Equis with or without lime.
We sleep out on the nets in a sleeping bag underneath the stars. It’s quite comfortable there and you can’t find a better view.
Next morning I cook breakfast and brew coffee. This is my first coffee onboard. I go to haul the anchor up. Oh my god this thing is heavy!! Perhaps 40lbs of anchor and chain is overkill. At least it’s a good upper body workout. Of course if we had been hit by a storm the big anchor would not have felt like overkill. I think I’ll at least get lighter chain.
I feel like a new man, most of the stress has evaporated and I am happy once again.
I can’t wait until it warms up. We will definitely be overnighting a lot more this year."

Gregg Boone
Sprint 750 #50 Obsession
Lake Ray Roberts
Fort Worth, Texas