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‘Fukushima’s Revenge’ Slows Sailors

Trimaran in Transpac Race hits telephone poles, debris from 2011 Japan tsunami.

July 26, 2013
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Tritium Racing

Tritium Racing wins the 2013 Transpacific Yacht Race from Los Angeles to Honolulu. Christophe Favreau for Tritium Racing

The 73-foot Tritium Racing trimaran was the winner of this year’s Transpacific Yacht Race from Los Angeles, California, to Honolulu, Hawaii, but she failed to break the race record set by Bruno Peyron in 1997— in part because of telephone poles and other debris that is floating in the Pacific as a result of the March 2011 tsunami in Japan.

Even despite the encounter with what the team is calling “Fukushima’s Revenge” — for the Japanese nuclear reactor that suffered a meltdown in the natural disaster — Tritium covered more than 2,225 nm in five days, 11 hours, 52 minutes and 33 seconds, about two hours more than the current Transpac record holder. (The first Transpac, back in 1906, took 12 days to complete.)

Ironically, Tritium Racing takes its name from the chemical compound tritium, which is a radioactive isotope of hydrogen.

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The nine-member crew included America’s Cup winners John Sangmeister and Gino Morrelli as well as New York to San Francisco Monohull World Sailing Speed Record holder Ryan Breymaier, four-time SAP 505 World Champion Howard Hamlin and two-time French Laser National Champion Renaud Laplanche.

Their 73-footer originally was built and raced as a 60-footer in 1998. This past February, following several extensions to the boat, Sangmeister bought her and refitted her for offshore cruising.

Lots of cool photos and videos are at the Transpac Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/tritiumracing.

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