One record down, Another on the horizon

Published on August 14th, 2014

Cowes, UK (August 14, 2014) – Exciting times today as Sidney Gavignet and the crew of the MOD70 trimaran Musandam-Oman Sail appear to have eclipsed the outright speed record of the 1880nm Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race. Crossing the finish line off the Royal Yacht Squadron, Cowes, at 12.42.36 BST, setting an elapsed time of 3 days, 3 hours, 32 minutes, 36 seconds, this breaks the previous World Record for a multihull held by 140-foot Banque Populaire 5 in 2011, by 16 minutes, 38 seconds (subject to ratification by the World Speed Sailing Record Council).

It was almost unthinkable that a 70-foot trimaran, with no ability to decide when to start, could defeat a larger trimaran that had decided exactly when to set off.

“I didn’t think this was possible but we had exceptional conditions and a boat with amazing potential that was used properly,” noted skipper Sidney Gavignet. “I know this course well because I have the solo record for the Round Britain and Ireland. I like it; it is a great course, very challenging, and I am very thankful to Sevenstar and the RORC for organising this race. Loick Peyron was the record holder and he phoned me after we crossed the line to say congratulations. He is a gentleman and someone I really respect as a sailor and a person but I know he will want his record back!”

The record breaking team hit a new top speed for the boat of 43 knots right at the start. “You really need the right conditions, perfect trim and the time to set that up to get to that speed and we hardly ever dropped below 25 knots the whole way round,” explained navigator Damian Foxall. “Jan Dekker has done a huge amount of multihull sailing, including winning the America’s Cup but when we were blasting down the West coast of Ireland, he turned to me and said, `Don’t you think Sidney should be thinking about preserving the boat for the Route du Rhum?’ I said, `Go and tell him that, he’s going for the record right now!’ We had in the back of our minds that it was possible – a long shot but it wasn’t until we got to the Fastnet, where the wind was not as light as we expected, we were still doing 30 knots and we were thinking – OK this could be possible!”

For the five Volvo Ocean 65s, leader Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing is at the southernmost point of the route, with just over 200nm to the finish, though her margin over Team Campos, skippered by Iker Martinez, is down to 30 nm in the moderate downwind conditions.

“We now have our running spinnaker up and conditions onboard have improved markedly,” shared leading skipper Ian Walker, who is now looking at not just the first Volvo Ocean 65 prize but also the monohull race record set by Franck Cammas’ Volvo Ocean 70 Groupama in 2010 of 5 days, 21 hours, 26 minutes and 55 seconds.

The real race looks to be for third, as Team SCA has rallied over the past day, and is now near even with Team Alvimedica and 10nm astern of Team Dongfeng.

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