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Friday, September 21, 2018

Richard du Moulin breaks Hong Kong to New York passage record

A legendary sailing ship record that has remained untouched for a century and a half toppled on Tuesday night when the trimaran Great American II sailed into New York Harbor, 72 days out of Hong Kong.

On 28 May American adventurers Rich Wilson and Richard du Moulin, Chairman of INTERTANKO’s North American Panel, were greeted by cheering family and supporters as their 53-foot sailboat passed the Statue of Liberty soon after 10:00 AMNew York time.

"Two and a half months at sea is a long, long time for a classroom session  . . . but it was worth every minute!" said the sailors as they stowed their ship's sails at Chelsea Piers on Manhattan's West Side. For their entire journey, the two men have been communicating with 360,000 school children who were following a series of lesson plans linked to the voyage, .

Great American's time from Hong Kong on the 15,000 mile passage to the AmbroseLightTower off Sandy Hook at the entrance to New YorkHarbor was 72 days 21 hours 11 minutes and 38 seconds. Her time eclipsed the record of 74 days, 14 hours set by the extreme clipper ship Sea Witch in the China Tea Trade in 1849. The record, which is one day and 17 hours faster than the old mark, has been reported to the World Speed Sailing Record Council for formal ratification.

Although 154 years of technological development separated these two vessels, Richard du Moulin said that they struggled to keep pace with the ghost of the 192-foot clipper ship, as they trailed her several times in the South China Sea, the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean.

This was the first time that Richard du Moulin, a former America's Cup racer, has undertaken a passage of such duration. "I had to have an element of  competition in this," he said. "I had to have the daily benchmark--so I was keeping all these statistics, my own tally. Until we got to the Northeast tradewinds off of Brazil, ten of the eleven fastest daily passages were held by Sea Witch. The Sea Witch could handle the heavy seas of the Indian Ocean. She could charge through them doing 300-mile days, one after another, while we had to slow down in those conditions. Our advantage was in the light stuff. TakingSea Witch on in the trade routes was a bigger challenge than people realize."

On arrival, both men said time with their families and fresh food were their top priorities as they prepared to return to their normal business life after weeks cooped up in the tiny cabin of their wave-tossed boat. Without the benefits of refrigeration they were limited for most of the voyage to a diet of freeze-dried, preserved and packaged food.

Contact: Sally Woulfe