Fast times in the Southern Latitudes

Published on March 7th, 2019

(March 7, 2019; Day 67) – Alex Alley (GBR) is nearly set to cross the longitude of Cape Leeuwin in his effort to break the Solo Non-Stop Round the World Record in his Class40 Pixel Flyer. By passing the most south-westerly mainland point of the Australian continent, this will mark the second of the three capes he must eclipse along his circumnavigation. While he trails record pace, he is reducing the margin during the fast portion of the course through the southern latitudes enroute to Cape Horn.

Here is Alex’s report from today:
I have now sailed further – than anyone else that we know of officially – solo non-stop in a class 40, except for Gou Chuan who set the record. There have been four previous attempts on the record. Two Germans who both had to abandon due to injury, one hurting his leg shortly after the start and the other damaging his ankle and retiring in to Cape Town.

American sailor Joe Harris, in an Akilaria RC2 (the same model as Pixel Flyer) had battery charging issues on his way down the Atlantic and stopped in Cape Town to fix it. This meant he was no longer eligible for the non-stop record but he continued on as a personal challenge to solo circumnavigate the world. However, back in the Atlantic after Cape Horn, the boat began to suffer delamination of the bow and he was forced to stop again in Uruguay to effect repairs. (Pixel Flyer has a specially reinforced bow for just this reason). Joe then continued back to America to complete his trip.

The fourth effort was from Italian sailor Gaetano Mura with a very well-funded campaign and a highly modified Class 40. Despite hitting something in the water south of Cape Town, he carried on until he was forced to retire in to Perth Australia with GPS problems.

And let us not forget the multi million pound 131-foot trimaran Spindrift 2 which left Brest 2 weeks after I did in an attempt to break the outright around the world record. They managed to get to about where I am now before suffering structural failure to one of their rudders which forced their abandonment in Australia.

This is a very volatile environment and the attrition rate is very high so I am lucky still to be going.

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With the help of crowdfunding, Alex Alley (GBR) is aiming to break the Solo Non-Stop Around the World Record in his 40-foot yacht – Pixel Flyer. His goal is to better the 2013 record set by Guo Chuan of 137d 20h 01m 57s which started and finished at the city of Qingdao in Shandong Province, eastern China.

Alley began his quest December 31 at the traditional start line between the Créac’h lighthouse on the island of Ushant and the Lizard lighthouse in Cornwall in the English Channel.

With his start at 14h 31mins 09 sec (subject to ratification by the World Sailing Speed Record Council), if he is to beat Chuan’s record (and he has to beat it by at least one minute), then his deadline is to cross the line again going the other way, on at 10h 32mins 06 secs on May 18, 2019.

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