Endurance Record - Golden Gate to Queen Mary
A new record has been set for the 435 mile Golden Gate to Queen Mary endurance run at 9 hours, 50 minutes and 51 seconds. The American Power Boat Association (APBA) and the world recognising body, Union Internationale Motonautique (UIM), both sanction this San Francisco to Los Angeles world record.
Offshore endurance runs highlight the variables of wind and ocean and prove that all mariners need to plan well - then expect the unexpected! The record run attempt went nothing like the four-man team of Nigel Hook, Dan MacNamara, Andy Hindley, and Lance Ware were expecting in their 48’ APISA boat powered by two of the latest Cummins QSB 6.7 550 diesel engines.
Nigel Hook, the world champion offshore racer who was on the team with MacNamara in 2003 that set the diesel-powered San Francisco to Los Angeles endurance record in 6 hours 43 minutes said, ‘The Pacific was vicious today. It was the worst conditions I've ever seen in the Pacific so close to shore. But overall - Mission Accomplished!'
The 48’ APISA boat and the 43’ Willard Interceptor start boat, fresh from Americas Cup umpire duties, were built under license from Team Scarab. Safety and preparation are everything for an open ocean transit at high speed. APBA Officials arrived early at St Francis Yacht Club to inspect the boat and sign off on safety gear. Dan Wiener, Executive Director of APBA said, ‘This is a well-prepared team using state-of-the-art satellite tracking and they have coordinated their course with the Coast Guard.'
After topping off the fuel tanks the team checked in with the USCG vessel and helicopter then hit the Golden Gate startling line just after 08.30. In an effort to establish the Lucas Oil Ocean Cup Golden Gate to Queen Mary record the crew was expecting to arrive in Long Beach, California in six to seven hours. But rough seas and mechanical issues throughout the run pushed that mark behind schedule.
Nigel Hook said, ‘We were averaging close to 70 mph for the first couple of hours but we encountered a slight electrical problem with a wiring harness that slowed us up. But the real issue was water in the diesel fuel which forced us to stop many times.’
Normally the bad sea conditions worsen on rounding Point Conception, but the team were relieved to find welcome wind reduction and relative calm – well at least down to six foot waves! When they finally managed to overcome the fuel and water issue they chased the daylight. After a gruelling day in the Pacific Ocean the team powered into the finish line in front of the historic Queen Mary liner and an LA sunset.
Crew member Andy Hindley admitted the run wouldn't have been nearly as adventurous without these sea conditions, 'There were more knocks and bangs during this 10 hour trip than there were during the 52 days of the Round the World race.'
Endurance runs between San Francisco and Los Angeles date back to when the race was simply against the clock and the sea. This is a genuine ocean race running far offshore, not around the buoys on a spectator-friendly course. This type of endurance run goes back to the old days of offshore racing, when it was man, machine and a compass against the elements.
This is one of the oldest ocean endurance records with a rich legacy. The record was initially set in 1927 by Seymour Johnson, founder of Johnson Controls, when it was a three day event with overnight stops in Monterey and Santa Barbara. Various high profile pioneers have broken the record since including Mike Reagan, son of former US President Ronald Reagan, in 1984 and martial arts legend Chuck Norris in 1988.
Photos copyright of Cathy Vercoe / Sean Gunn
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