ORACLE Team USA skipper Spithill led his team and their “F4” Team Falcon catamaran across the 1,065km of ocean that lies between the United States’ east coast and the tiny island in the Atlantic.
Gale force winds and a hurricane held up the attempt on several occasions but eventually relented to allow Spithill’s team to set off. The journey was done to honor New York as the first city to host the America’s Cup (in 1870) and Bermuda, which will host the event in 2017.
Spithill revealed; “These were the biggest waves I’ve faced in a multi-hull and hopefully don’t ever have to experience again. At night we didn’t have a moon, so when the waves were breaking it was very challenging and extremely dangerous. We had a few close calls and went from pushing the boat for performance to survival mode.”
Hydrofoil boats use wing-like foils under the hull of the boat to lift it out of the water, reducing drag and, as a result, increasing speed significantly. Spithill’s team spent eight months on their boat, engineering the first ever 46-foot hydro-foiling catamaran so that it could hover above the dangerous swells that they’d encounter.
Despite the huge 25ft waves and 35 knot winds, the team managed to complete the incredible journey in 66 hours, demonstrating the extraordinary possibilities of foil sailing, not to mention the fun to be had along the way.