Record-seeking sailboat trains on SF Bay

The next time you’re by the Bay, keep your eyes peeled for the Hydroptere: a funny looking contraption that’s part boat, part plane.

With distinctive black sails, the Hydroptere was the fastest sailboat in the world — until yesterday afternoon. At top speeds, the boat rises more than 15 feet in the air and clocks out at 61 mph, or 52.58 knots in sailor-speak.

Now this experimental boat, designed and captained by Frenchman Alain Thébault, is readying to break more records by sailing from Los Angeles to Honolulu faster than anyone has before.

And lucky for us, its training ground is right in our backyard.

For the past couple months, the celebrity boat has been docked at Tiburon’s Corinthian Yacht Club as its four-man crew trains for the springtime adventure. To break the Transpacific record, the boat has to arrive in Honolulu in under four days and 19 hours.

Aside from training, Thébault has also been courting Silicon Valley tycoons to help finance the record attempt, which will cost up to $3.6 million.

Despite the pressure, Thébault sounds like a man who’s got things under control. He told the Marin Independent Journal:

“We know how to fly steady, so I’m confident we can break the record. But we have to stay humble.”