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January 3, 2005

Trans-Atlantic Beach Cat Crossing: If you had to select a craft on which to cross the Atlantic you wouldn’t–at least if you don’t like to suffer–choose a 20-foot beach cat. But in the world of sailing there’s always someone willing to sail somewhere on some ridiculous craft, usually in an attempt to set some sort of new record. And the transatlantic beach cat record, while not exactly popular, has gained enough respectability over the years that it’s not too surprising that there are two Italians (Andrea Gancia and Matteo Miceli) who right now are in the middle of a run from Dakar to Guadalupe, aboard a 20-footer. As of this morning they had sailed 1430 miles and had 1137 to go. According to their calculations they are 272 miles ahead of the record pace, and I’d tell you more about how it is all going except their daily logs are all in Italian. They do however, have a pretty useful history of this record (in English) on the site:

“The idea of crossing the Atlantic with a sport catamaran was born in 1986, when two attempts took place.

The first was by Frenchmen Daniel Pradel and Tony Laurent, who set the record in 18 days and 22 hours.

The second attempt was made, that same year, by the renowned Primagaz skippers Laurent Bourgnon and Frederic Geraldi, who took two days less than the French.

In 1993, two Frenchmen tried to better their record, with a KL18, but they took 21 days and 6 hours.

Nobody did better than Bourgnon and Geraldi until 1999, when the record was shattered by Hans Bouscholte and Gerard Navarin, sailing on a NACRA, who set the new record of 15 days, 2 hours and 26 minutes.”

And here’s a description of their custom-designed ride:

“Balance Ocean Cat 20′ is a 20 foot catamaran, designed by Sito Avilès Ramos specially to beat the Atlantic record with a two-handed boat. The large number of watertight compartments, seven on each hull and a double crash-box at the bows makes it unsinkable; moreover, the use of carbon fiber remarkably reduces its weight and makes this catamaran extremely rigid and resistant.”

This is a very, very tough physical challenge, with blazing sun, endless salt water spray, and absolutely no compromise in the way of comfort. So hats off to Gancia and Miceli, and we wish them fair winds….



Transatlantic Duo: “Excuse me, Matteo. It’s a nice boat and we’re going fast, but what do I do when I have to pee…?”

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