The first certifiable 1-mile sailing speed record on San Francisco Bay was set Friday by l’Hydroptere DCNS.
A race committee under the authority of the Yacht Racing Association of San Francisco Bay and the San Francisco Bay Area Multihull Association declared a preliminary 1-mile speed record of 37.5 knots (43.2 mph / 69.5 kph), based on visual timing that will be certified on analysis, including precise Global Positioning System plots, according to a statement.
The race authority set a 1-nautical mile course angled between the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island in winds of 16 knots, gusting to 20 knots. The beginnings of an ebb current kicked up tight, square waves. The boat made five passes at a record run between 2 and 3:45 p.m. The second run was the fastest. The third run was threatened by a large excursion boat that did not yield way.
The all-French crew for skipper Alain Thébault consisted of Yves Parlier and Jean Le Cam, his long-time co-skipper and expert ocean racer Jacques Vincent, and boat captain Warren Fitzgerald. They were joined for the record run by kiteboarder Robert Douglas, who holds the outright sailing speed record of 55.35 knots (set on a special speed track in Namibia).
"When we learned there was no formal sailing speed record on this extraordinary bay, we knew we must see what we could do," Thébault said in a statement. "Our project has always been about showing how fast sails can fly, and we were so happy to work with the sailors of San Francisco to set this record."