Geronimo going for record
A recent press release announcing that a huge French trimaran will soon be making an attempt to break the Los Angeles-to-Honolulu multihulled sailboat record brought back a few personal memories.
As a college student in the early 1960s, the first experience I had sailing a multihulled boat was on a friend's 18-foot Malibu Outrigger in Long Beach, Calif.
Some 27 years later, in the summer of 1989, I was invited to sail off Waikiki aboard Rudy Choy's 62-foot catamaran Aikane X5 and while aboard learned there was a direct connection between both boats.
I was aboard Choy's boat because he had just set the Transpacific Yacht Race's multihull record of 6 days, 22 hours, and had invited a few journalists to experience the thrill of racing the tradewinds across Mamala Bay.
I mentioned my first multihull experience to Choy and his son, Barry, and they explained that the designer of the Malibu Outrigger was none other than Warren Seaman, the S in C/S/K Catamarans; the company that built Aikane X5 and other famous "cats." Of course, Choy was the C and Alfred Kumalae was the K, they added.
At the time Choy was jubilant, not only because he had set a record, but also that the Transpacific Yacht Club had actually allowed his "unofficial" participation in what had always been, and remains today, a monohulled contest.
Choy's record rewarded his years of effort; still, as they say, records are made to be broken. In 1997, French sailor Bruno Peyron's 86-foot trimaran Explorer eclipsed Choy's record with a time of 5 days, 9 hours, 18 minutes and 26 seconds.
It is this record that another French sailor, Oliver de Kersauson, and his crew of 10 aboard the 110-foot carbon fiber trimaran Geronimo will be attempting to surpass. And given that yacht's recent string of accomplishments, I wouldn't bet against it.
Geronimo currently holds the Jules Verne Trophy, won in 2004, for circumnavigating the globe in 63 days, 13 hours and 59 minutes.
This summer (winter below the equator) Geronimo set another record by sailing around Australia -- from a start/finish line in Sydney Harbor -- in 17 days, 13 hours and 32 minutes.
That was followed with a record passage from Australia to Tahiti in just over 13 days, and another from Tahiti to San Diego in 12 days.
So now, depending on weather conditions between here and California in the next few weeks, Geronimo will again set sail on a race against time.
The scheduling for this race is unusual as our most consistent tradewinds are associated with the summer months. But, considering Geronimo's speed, it may be that any time the Pacific High sets up in the proper position between the mainland and Hawaii, the time will be right.
Of one thing I'm almost certain; there's bound to be one or two Choys to applaud them at the finish.