Lionel Pean and his crew wait in New York for the weather before leaving on their transatlantic record attempt
The 44.70 m maxi ketch is on stand-by to attempt to beat the fully crewed Atlantic sailing record between New York (USA) and the Lizard (GB).
The boat will be skippered by French yachtsman Lionel Péan, since Loïck Peyron, who accepted this responsibility on condition that the record run started before October 8th 1998, stepped down. Indeed, Loïck Peyron is in preparation for the Route du Rhum, the single-handed transatlantic race between Saint Malo (Fr) and Pointe-à-Pitre in Guadeloupe (FWI) which starts on November 8th, and he cannot take the risk of being absent so close to the starting date.
Training for The Race Lionel Péan finds himself then skipper of Mari Cha III with a crew of 21, including a lot of New Zealanders. It is for this very experienced mariner an exceptional opportunity, since he is working in collaboration with the Swede Peder Silfverjhelm on a maxi monohull project of 53 metres for The Race ; the boat will be designed by Philippe Briand, who also designed Mari Cha III. Lionel Péan : “Before building a racing boat, one should race on similar boats. The only one of the kind I can try right now is Mari Cha. Living the Mari Cha experience at sea will allow me to avoid a number of errors on our future boat for The Race”.
3 records to beat The monohull record to beat has been held by the Swede Ludde Ingvall on the Grand Mistral (24 metres) Nicorette since April 1997, in 11 days, 13 hours, 22 minutes and 5 seconds, at an average speed of 10.54 knots over a distance of 2925 miles.
However Lionel Péan should also try to beat the Atlantic monohull and assisted (hydraulic and electric winches) sailing record held by Phocéa skippered by Frenchman Bernard Tapie. This record was set in July 1988 in 8 days, 3 hours and 29 minutes.
Finally, the supreme objective would be to beat the outright fully crewed Atlantic sailing record held by Serge Madec on the catamaran Jet Services V in June 1990 : 6 days, 13 hours and 3 minutes.