Record Pace at Muckle Flugga
At their current ballistic pace, Musandam - Oman Sail's estimated finish will be at 10:24 BST, Thursday 14th August. The MOD 70, skippered by Frenchman Sidney Gavignet, is two hours inside the course record set by Banque Populaire 5 in 2011 of 3 days 3 hours, 49 minutes, 14 seconds.
Sidney Gavignet contacted the RORC Media team at 1000 this morning, just 100 miles from the top of the course, having raced approx. 600 miles in 24 hours.
"Right now the wind speed is 20 knots from 230 degrees, Jan Dekker is at the helm and the boat speed is 30 knots," commented Sidney Gavignet. "We blew out our old J1 yesterday, so we have to be very careful with our J2. Record or no record, we try to be gentle with this lady but she is strong. This morning I can see that the crew are starting to get a bit tired but they are doing fine. Sami (Al Shukaili) and Yassir (Al Rahbi) are having an amazing experience and even Jan Dekker says that it is a long time since he has experienced such a high speed for so long. Last night, the sea state was a bit rough so we had to slow down but the night is short at this time of the year and there was a big moon. The night made me reminisce about my last race around the course alone."
With the fast reaching conditions experienced so far, the battle for the overall win for the 20 yachts racing under IRC is looking like it will favour the light displacement carbon fibre flyers. Andrew Budgen and Fred Schwyn's Volvo 70, Monster Project, has been in pole position since the last update and remains so. Monster Project gybed offshore shortly before sunset yesterday to open up a 40 mile lead on the water from Brian Thompson's IMOCA 60, Artemis-Team Endeavour.
Monster Project has been having a tremendous battle with Volvo Ocean 65 Team SCA. Team SCA gybed offshore yesterday at 1630 BST past the entrance to the Thames Estuary but the move didn't pay off. By Lowestoft, Monster Project had pulled out a 30 mile lead on the all-female team. However, Team SCA fought back taking on Monster Project in an all-night gybing duel and by 0800 BST Team SCA was 3 miles ahead of Monster Project.
Second overall under IRC is Jens Kellinghusen's German Ker 51, Varuna, which is leading IRC Zero by a comfortable margin. Behind them, the other two German yachts are having a fantastic duel in IRC Zero. JV52 Haspa Hamburg, skippered by Katrin Hilbert, and JV53 Bank von Bremen, skippered by Carol Smolawa, are both 1563 miles from the finish, side by side just north of Great Yarmouth, Norfolk.
Jankees Lampe's Open 40 La Promesse, racing Two-Handed with Bart Boosman, is having a cracking race after recovering from a knock down, which punched two holes in their mainsail inside the Solent. The mainsail was lowered and repaired by the Two-Handed team and after celebrating with baguettes of prawns and brie (Bart) and gruyere and tuna (JanKees), they stormed to the front of the IRC One. La Promesse is now 18 miles ahead of Ifan James' skippered Stimson 42, Palpatine, and well ahead after time correction.
The fleet are currently just off Lowestoft at a crucial stage of this part of the race. Ross Applebey's Scarlet Logic is still leading the class and set new speed record of 22.5 knots while surfing past Dover yesterday. Ian Hoddle, racing Two-Handed with Conrad Manning on Figaro II, Rare, made a move inshore at midnight just before Beachy Head. Rare sailed an additional nine miles but the tactic saw them catch right up with Scarlet Logic on the water.
News that a crew member on J/111 British Soldier had dislocated his shoulder was received by the Race Committee yesterday evening. British Soldier, skippered by Phil Caswell, pulled into Dover to get treatment for the crew member who is now being treated ashore, British Soldier have continued racing with only five on board. The British Army Team seem determined to make up for lost time and are currently producing the fastest boat speed in pursuit of the class leaders.
IRC Three and Four
Keith Gibbs' C&C 115 Change of Course, skippered by David Dyer, encountered rough weather last night and had to pull into Dover for minor repairs to their pulpit but resumed racing at 0200 BST this morning. The Royal Armoured Corps Yacht Club on Ruag White Knight 7 now lead IRC Three but the team, led by Rob Hammond, are still 30 miles behind their arch rivals British Soldier.
Liam Coyne and Brian Flahive, the Irish Two-Handed team racing First 36.7, Lula Belle, are going well but have experienced some epic conditions. At 0800 BST on the second day, Lula Belle had covered over 200 miles of the course in under 24 hours. Last night at sunset, Liam Coyne sent this message from Lula Belle.
"Darkness setting in almost 90 miles covered. Heading for foul tide at Dover and when we round there wind should be more favourable. Hitting 39 knots of wind now with big seas but at least it's in the correct direction. Gybing at 35 knots is no fun. All going to plan so happy so far."