If you’re on the water this weekend in the vicinity of the Cityfront, keep your eyes peeled for a black shadow hiding in a cloud of white spray. That’ll be iShares, an Extreme 40 catamaran on a worldwide promotional tour. Named for its corporate sponsor, iShares Funds, this all-carbon 40-ft speedster weighs only about 2,750 pounds all up and has been clocked at speeds of nearly 35 knots.
The boat was launched last Friday at Svenden’s in Alameda. Designed from the outset to be transport-friendly by former Olympic Tornado sailors Mitch Booth and Yves Loday, the entire 40- by 26-ft boat and two-piece 62-ft tall mast fit inside a standard 40-ft shipping container.
"They opened up the container and all you see are two bows that come right up to the door," said Svendsen’s yard manager Adam Sadeg. For transport, the demountable crossbeams are removed from the hulls and placed on the boat’s trailer between the two hulls. They’re then nested with both sections of the carbon fiber wingmast, bowsprit and boom. Finally the trailer’s telescoping bunks are retracted to form a compact package which can be shipped pretty much anywhere in the world. iShares performed the same promotional role in Sydney as recently as January.
The Extreme 40 has become quite a sensation in Europe starting with the 2005-6 Volvo Ocean Race when it served as a successful sideshow of spectator-friendly, close-quarters racing at various stopovers. Since then, iShares took over sponsorship of both a boat and the entire circuit. Another former Olympic Tornado sailor, Briton Hugh Styles is the project manager for the boat and will be racing it this summer in the iShares Cup. He’s joined here on the Bay by Nick Moloney who in addition to having a few laps of the globe under his safety harness, will be Styles’s competitor on this year’s circuit. Look to upcoming issues of Latitude 38 for more on these boats and how they’re fitting into the work-up of both Alinghi and BMW Oracle Racing for the next America’s Cup.
It took us about a week to get over the post-sail bliss from our once-in-a-lifetime trip aboard Gitana 13 last week. Yesterday we stifled a residual giggle and checked in to see how their attempt at the San Francisco to Yokohama record was progressing. We pulled up the chart on their website, and uttered a "Sacré Bleu!" when we realized they were already 500 miles northwest of Hawaii after just five days of sailing — they’ve averaged just over 21 knots!
Now before you say, "Well, duh, it’s a G-Cat," keep in mind that Gitana 13 now has a lead of more than 500 miles over current record holder, Olivier de Kersauson’s Geronimo. "These past 24 hours have been idyllic," reported crewman Nicolas Reynaud. "The surfs seemed to go on forever and would likely make even the most blasé of surfers green with envy."
The Gitana sailors have been able to sail a more direct route, and now look set to extend their lead on the way to Yokohama, despite a high-pressure ridge developing in their path.
In other, less auspicious large-multihull news, Alinghi’s sailing team moved up to Lorient, France, last week to get some private lessons from multihull master Alain Gautier. On Saturday the team was out practicing with Alinghi helmsman Ed Baird at the helm of Gautier’s Orma 60 Foncia when the big trimaran capsized, breaking both the mast and aft cross-beam. No one was seriously hurt but can you say "Awkward"?
Last night’s annual Latitude 38 Spring Crew List Party at Golden Gate YC was once again a can’t-miss affair. Kids of all ages came out on a ‘school night’ to join in the fun and meet new friends. Whether you were young or young-at-heart, you were bound to find like-minded folks to sail with — and everyone we talked to did.
Sal Sanchez of Sal’s Inflatable Services in Alameda once again demonstrated how to inflate a liferaft . . . and eager partygoers showed how to turn it into a party zone. The bartenders were busy all night and the crowd decimated the food spread, always a good sign of a successful party. "This was the most fun I’ve had in months," said Amanda, who was looking to crew.
If you missed the fun last night, you can look forward to our fall Mexico-Only Crew List Party at Encinal YC on September 10. In the meantime, head on over to our Crew List and sign up — whether you’re skipper looking for crew or want to hop a ride on someone else’s boat, you’re likely to find a match.
Tom Perkins, the Belvedere-based owner of the 289-ft Dyna-Rig Maltese Falcon, has confirmed reports that his big boat is up for sale. He’s been quoted by other sources as saying that much of the joy for him was the project itself, and that he’s now interested in submarines. Perkins has always enjoyed innovation and riding the cutting edge. Some folks find it shocking that he would be willing to sell Falcon. Not us. After all, consider the asking price of 120 million euros. If other reports are to believed, he paid 120 million dollars for the boat, so if she sold for close to the asking price, he would have realized close to a 50% profit. That’s nothing for even a venture capitalist to sneeze at. In addition, it can sometimes be more difficult to find buyers for $170,000 boats than $170 million boats. But it will be interesting to see how it all plays out.