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The 60-foot hydrofoil trimaran l’Hydroptère, skippered by Frenchman Alain Thébault and with a 10-man crew, broke the sailing speed record Nov. 8, clocking 50.15 knots over 1 nautical mile in a 28-knot northwesterly off Hyères, France. The project incorporated the support of eight engineers from the aeronautics industry. The record was subject to ratification by the World Sailing Speed Record Council.

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‘Bomb-proof’ and ready to fish

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 Maine boatbuilder Lyman-Morse has launched its first large express sportfishing boat, a 65-footer named Ring Leader, according to company president J.B. Turner. “It was built to fish hard and fish every day,” says Turner. “The owners will fish all the tournaments out of St. Augustine [Fla.]. It’s built like a bomb shelter.”

Known for its custom sailing and motoryachts, Lyman-Morse used the patented Seemann Composites Resin Infusion Molding Process, or SCRIMP, to build Ring Leader’s hull. The builder reinforced the boat with carbon fiber in high-stress areas, such as the stringer tops, says Turner.

Naval architect Robert Ullberg, president of Ullberg Yacht Design in Winter Park, Fla., designed the yacht. Visibility from the center helm is excellent, says Ullberg, with a running attitude of 2.5 to 3 degrees. “You can always see the horizon,” he says. “Visibility is never an issue, even in rough seas.”

Ullberg worked closely with Ring Power Corp. of St. Augustine, the Caterpillar distributor for northern Florida. Powered by twin 1,825-hp Cats, the 30-ton vessel cruises at 39 knots and tops out at 43 knots with a half load, says Turner, adding that the boat has no problem shouldering aside

5-footers at 40 knots. Ring Leader carries 1,943 gallons of fuel and 425 gallons of water. She has a beam of 19 feet, 1 inch and a draft of 4 feet.

Ring Leader was built with redundant systems so no fishing trip would have to be cut short, says Turner. For example, it has four freshwater pumps and two saltwater pumps, two watermakers, two icemakers and two generators. The boat is outfitted with a Jack Hopewell tower, Rupp 46-foot hydraulic outriggers and a variable-setting fighting chair that transforms into a rocket launcher or live well hookup.

Down below, the saloon features a settee with granite table to port and galley area to starboard. Forward of the saloon and to port is a stateroom with an oversized berth and washer/dryer. A starboard stateroom has two berths. A head and shower are forward of the staterooms.

Contacts: Lyman-Morse, Thomaston, Maine, (207) 354-6904, Ullberg Yacht Design, Winter Park, Fla., (407) 647-7669,

— Chris Landry

Rowing Britons cross the Pacific in 189 days

British adventurers Mick Dawson, 45, and Chris Martin, 28, rowed beneath the Golden Gate Bridge and into San Francisco Nov. 13, crossing the Pacific from Japan in 189 days, 10 hours and 55 minutes. The pair, who left Choshi May 8 in their 23-foot rowing boat, had planned an unassisted passage. By August, however, they were running out of food and had to begin rationing meals. They gave up their unassisted quest Nov. 10 and accepted a food drop from a helicopter.

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“There’s something that feels incredibly naughty about sitting in bed stuffing your face with nuts, raisins and M&Ms at 2 in the morning, but that’s exactly what I did. What a treat,” says Martin.

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In our wake

“The Great Storm of December 1839,” as it became known, was actually a series of three powerful gales that devastated commercial fleets from Cape Cod to Gloucester, Mass. “Awful Calamities: The Shipwrecks of December 1839,” published the year after the storm, detailed the destruction in Gloucester Harbor.

“Such a scene of terrific and horrible ruin has not been witnessed in that harbor within the memory of the oldest inhabitant, a man 104 years of age who has always lived there. More than 50 vessels were either driven ashore, dismasted or carried out to sea, and the loss of lives could not have fallen much short of 50.”

Within a week of the first gale, two more followed. In all, 17 brigs, 68 schooners and four sloops were lost, and another 219 vessels were either dismasted or driven ashore. Loss of life in the region was reported at 150 to 200 people.

This article originally appeared in the January 2010 issue.