Maxi cat sails under Golden Gate bridge to break Route d'Or record

The 110ft catamaran Gitana 13 crossed the finish line of La Route de l’Or, situated just off the infamous island of Alcatraz in San Francisco Bay, at 1707 (UTC) yesterday. After over 43 days 38 minutes at sea, including a forced five and a half day stand-by at Cape Horn, Lionel Lemonchois and his nine crew improved on the reference time held since 1998 by Yves Parlier and his men (on a 60ft monohull, Aquitaine Innovations) by 14 days 2 hours and 43 minutes. The maxi-catamaran covered the 14,000 miles which separate New York from San Francisco at an average speed of 15.88 knots and thus set their first record time in their 2008 record campaign.

The boat and crew will only have a short rest, however. Lionel Lemonchois outlined the crew’s plans:

“Our next objective is the record from San Francisco – Yokohama (held by 110ft trimaran Geronimo with a time of 14 days 22 hours 40 minutes), with an intended departure in three to four weeks’ time. In the meantime, the boat will remain on standby in San Francisco and we’ll sit it out there until we can benefit from optimal conditions for this course. It will also be an opportunity for a well earned rest for my crew after over six weeks at sea. The whole crew will return to France for a few weeks, with the exception of one person who will remain here to keep an eye on Gitana 13.”

You can see the whole interview with skipper Lionel Lemonchois here