Trimaran on Pace to Break Cape Horn Challenge Record

Times Staff Writer

Georgs Kolesnikovs, sailing the 60-foot trimaran Great American in the Cape Horn Challenge from New York to San Francisco, said that if conditions hold, he will reach the finish line early on May 27--nearly three days ahead of the record set in February by Warren Luhrs’ Thursday’s Child, a 60-foot monohull.

Luhrs finished in 80 days 20 hours, breaking the record of 89 days 8 hours set by the clipper ship Flying Cloud 135 years earlier.

Kolesnikovs, who left New York with Steve Pettengill on March 10, spoke by radio telephone from near Robinson Crusoe Island off the coast of Chile last weekend. At the time, he said, the boat was running at 12 knots ahead of a quartering 20-25-knot wind and was 5,177.1 miles from the finish, according to satellite navigation.


“I worked out our ETA (estimated time of arrival) for the first time today,” Kolesnikovs said by radio-phone. “It’s still a long way to go, so I’m not making any predictions.”

However, Kolesnikovs said he was more than 500 miles ahead of the pace set by Thursday’s Child, despite warnings that he had left New York too late to find favorable weather conditions.

Instead, his passage around the horn--notorious for breaking and sinking ships--was unusually uneventful.

Kolesnikovs said Luhrs might have erred by sailing into light wind when he took Thursday’s Child too near the Chilean Coast after rounding the horn.

“We did the more conservative approach,” he said. “We were being headed in light winds, so we went south and west before turning north. Once you get out there, there’s plenty of breeze.”

There have been several problems, Kolesnikovs said--”Everything from a gooseneck (boom-to-mast fitting) cracking to the mainsheet (sail control line) pulling out to the roller (sail) furling falling apart.


“We didn’t have time for a lot of shakedown sailing, but our approach was to be self-sufficient. Steve has great mechanical skills.”

Kolesnikovs also said he and Pettengill feel well and have been eating well, having consumed about 1,000 pounds of the 3,000 pounds of supplies they put aboard.

“We prepare fresh food and eat freeze-dried food only every other day,” he said. “We’re starting to lighten ship. We’ll eventually (jettison) about 500 pounds in excess food and gear over the next few days.”