Pedal to the Metal
At 1230 BST, Musandam-Oman Sail were 520 miles from the finish of the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race. To set a new outright World Record, the MOD 70 needs to cross the Royal Yacht Squadron Line by 12:59:14 on 14th August 2014.
Musandam-Oman Sail has been on the charge all morning and last night averaged over 25 knots, hitting a top speed of 35 knots. At that pace the World Record would be broken by over 3 hours.
During the third night of the race, a northwesterly breeze of about 19 knots is expected in the Celtic Sea, which should be enough to keep Musandam-Oman Sail on for the record and make landfall at The Lizard around midnight tonight. During the night, the wind is expected to go lighter and back to the west, which could make for a dramatic last few hours as Musandam-Oman Sail round the Isle of Wight, before crossing the finish line from the east.
"We are just 15 miles from Blackrock, in sunshine on the West Coast of Ireland. I can see Galway and Connemara to leeward," commented Damian. "The wind has just lined up beautifully and we haven't really needed to gybe, so we are just going straight, corner to corner, towards the next mark, Tearaght Island. We have the inkling of an idea that it might be possible, in a dream world, to beat Banque Populaire's record. We are pushing hard, towards near where I grew up; Bull Rock. With the wind going lighter and to the west, we will be dead down wind, which will mean a lot of gybes, but we will see how tomorrow goes; for now we are keeping alive the idea that we can break the course record."
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing's Volvo Ocean 65, Azzam, continues to lead the charge and has extended their lead on Team Campos, skippered by Iker Martinez, to over 30 miles. Ian Walker's team has a bevy of outstanding drivers, whom Walker praised when he spoke to the RORC Media team by satellite phone.
"10 miles until we can bear away at St Kilda and the thrashing will subside," commented Ian. "It was a tough night with up to 36 knots of wind and sustained periods of 30+. We have continued to push the boat as hard as we can - only once backing off as it felt like we were going to shake everything to pieces. I think it is paying good dividends having so many capable helmsmen, as we are going well. It is pretty intense on the body and mind. Most of the helmsmen's hands are in tatters for a start!"
Brian Thompson, skipper of IMOCA 60 Artemis-Team Endeavour, contacted the RORC Media Team as they rounded Out Stack. At their current projected finish time, Artemis-Team Endeavour will break the IMOCA 60 record, set in 2010, by over 24 hours.
"We haven't gone upwind since the start and, as we arrived at Muckle Flugga, the breeze switched around 180 degrees and we still haven't!" explained Brian. "I have held the overall record three times, including onboard Banque Populaire, so to add the IMOCA record would be fantastic. It's looking hopeful; four years ago it took Artemis two and a half days to get up to the top of the course, so we are already 12 hours ahead of their track. Apart from some bad sea-state plugging the tide at Great Yarmouth, we have been up to full pace. Right now, we are just taking it a leg at a time but we think we will be in Cowes for a Sunday Roast."
The competitors' blogs tell the story of the race through the words and pictures sent back by the fleet and one of the more humorous stories is told by Jankees Lampe's whose Open 40, La Promesse, is leading IRC One and currently 150 miles from Muckle Flugga. Earlier today, the Dutch skipper blogged about the culinary delights on board and the special dietary demands of his fellow Two-Handed crew.
"Bart Boosman's famous omelette (breakfast, lunch, brunch, dinner, whenever)
1. onions 2. onions 3. Red Leicester (cheddar) 4. eggs 5. pepper & salt 6. onions
The cooking is acrobatics. But, both Bart and I, prefer shaken, not stirred."