Lending Club 2's Sights On Transpac Record - Lending Club 2 on San Francisco Bay
With less than a month to go before the start of the 2015 Transpac, the 105' maxi trimaran Lending Club is getting a good workout, churning up the waters of the San Francisco Bay on a near daily basis.
With Ryan and Nicola Breymaier helming the re-branded former Groupama 3/ Banque Poulaire VII and two major ocean records already under their belt, the big prize awaits.
It was two years ago that Ryan had put together the old modified ORMA 60' Gitana 12
(http://www.pressure-drop.us/forums/content.php?2997-A-New-Life-For-An-Old-Orma-60-Tritium-Racing) For John Sangmiester
And they almost succeeded: (http://www.pressure-drop.us/forums/content.php?3682-Tritium-s-Almost-Record-Run)
Falling just short of the 1997 record of the 86' maxi cat Explorer of 5 Days, 9 hours, 18 minutes and 26 seconds, Ryan and crew could taste how close the record was, and had not suffered damage cost the boat some 10 hours in down time while repairs to the damaged center board were implemented . But maybe that was a blessing in disguise? On board the boat was president of Lending Club, Renaud Laplanche, an accomplished sailor in his own right and savvy businessman, who appreciated Ryan's skill set, level headedness and ambitions in the world of Ocean Racing. Before they departed Hawaii, the two had agreed on committing to an mutually beneficial campaign with targets of existing records.
The simplest route was to charter an existing boat, and Ryan utilized his connections through years in the grand prix circuit and offshore events to track down the now rebranded Lending Club 2. With a core group of Ryan, Renaud, Quin Bisset, Stan Delbarre, Boris Herrman, Roland Jourdain, Jean Baptiste Le Vaillant, Jan Majer and local boy Skip McCormack the sailing team is solid from top to bottom.
Adding support shoreside will be Wouter Verbraak proving routing, Nicola Breymaier working endlessly on the details and logistics, with delivery and general support crew, Jody McCormack, James Stockdale, Mike Yates, Rhys Mellor and rib driver Tim Carrie pulling on strings and grinding with glee!
The stay in San Francisco, where Lending Club is based provides an a perfect opportunity for exposure to thousands as the big tri rumbles up and down the bay, pushing 40 knots at times. the massive sail area labeled boldly on the hull and sails, a picture postcard billboard in transit that is hard to miss.
The employees at Lending Club, many of which have never sailed a day in their life, getting treated to performance sailing at the highest level. The rough estimate is 800-900 guests will enjoy this e-ticket ride during her stay on the bay, a fantastic public relations move as well introduction to the sport in elegant fashion!
As invited guests this past Friday, we were graciously met at the departure dock at the designated time by Nicola and driver Tim, who greeted guests and sized them all up in matching Lending Club branded foulies and lifejackets. The big black RIB then shuttled us out to meet the boat where a unique boarding process ensued with crew members assisting guest quickly onboard, the quickly debarking the previous guests, still grinning with delight, onto the RIB for transit back to the dock.
A friendly welcome and safety chat as the crew worked to unfurl the jib and the motor quickly extinguished, the boat jumped into gear. 15 to 20 knots upwind, Lending Club quickly eats up the Bay, as Captain Ryan and crew rotate guest through the steering station all the while answering a plethora of questions and providing a bit of history on the boat and its past as well as future goals. Gybes over tacks, seems to be the norm, smooth as silk. Gotta keep the momentum going. If big trimarans do have weakness, it would be in the tacking department. But this is not an issue as Ryan takes the helm through the technical maneuvers and crew snap off the gybes in perfect synchronicity.
We are under the Golden Gate in no time and Ryan bears away on a course directly under it. For many of the guests lying on the trampoline, the 134' tall mast seems perilously close to the bridges undercarriage. Gobbling up more green water, the big tri is closing in on Lime Point Lighthouse at a rapid rate. Ryan calls for a gybe in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, and with amazing smoothness, we are pointing at the St Francis and watching the fun meter climb higher and higher.
"The sweet spot, or scary spot" indicates crewmember Jan Majer," is 110 degrees. The boat really accelerates at that angle. and depending on wind strength, it can be super fun or on the verge of super frightening". On our 2nd run of the day flying the number 2 with a single reef in, the fun meter tapped into the 35 knot range in just 20 knots of breeze. The simple math indicates Lending Club 2 needs to average just over 17 knots to claim the record from Los Angeles to Honolulu. Unless they get into some really bad ( light) wind, or break something major, that shouldn't be an issue.
Earlier this season, Lending Club 2 established a new Cowes to Dinard record, 138 nm in 5 hours and 15 minutes. They followed that up by crushing the 15 year old Newport to Bermuda record by some 15 hours while averaging 27 knots!
Transpac record...if you are reading this, be afraid, very afraid!
Lending Club2 will return to Brittany in September, where Francis Joyon and his IDEC team will rebrand the boat and get her ready for new adventures, while Ryan and Renaud will set their sites on some loftier projects and goals. Lending Club 3 in the works?
Photo & Report : Erik Simonson