NEWSFLASH: World Record for Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing's Volvo Ocean 65, Azzam, skippered by Ian Walker, crossed the finish line of the 2014 Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race off the Royal Yacht Squadron, Cowes at 22.20.28 BST on Friday 15th August 2014 with an elapsed time of 4 days, 13 hours, 10 minutes, 28 seconds.
This breaks the previous World Record and Race Record for a monohull set by Volvo 70 Groupama, in 2010, by 1 day, 08 hours, 16 minutes and 27 seconds. Azzam's record is subject to ratification by the World Speed Sailing Record Council.
This is the second World Record broken during the 2014 Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club.
Volvo Ocean 65s expected to finish this evening
The Volvo Ocean 65 fleet are expected to finish the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race this evening. Will Azzam, skippered by Britain's Ian Walker, hold off Team Campos and set a new course record? Who will win the battle for third place? Dongfeng, Alvimedica or SCA? Will SCA set a new women's record for the course?
Twist of Fate
The first three days of the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race produced fast downwind conditions for the entire fleet. However, yesterday afternoon a northwesterly air flow headed the fleet yet to round Out Stack, and the changeable weather is due to continue today. Only a few yachts will benefit, for many it will be a disadvantage. After four days, the remaining competitors will be fully in tune to the routine of life at sea.
Yesterday, at approximately 1400 BST, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing's Volvo Ocean 65 Azzam, skippered by Ian Walker, rounded the Fastnet Rock, leading the fleet and over 40 miles ahead of Team Campos, skippered by Iker Martinez. Almost immediately Azzam gybed offshore onto starboard and didn't gybe back for 90 miles. Team Campos followed Azzam offshore, but gybed for the Scilly Isles, 50 miles earlier than Azzam, which turned into a ten mile gain for the Spanish team. Bear in mind that while they can receive regular weather updates and position reports, the teams cannot see the RORC race player and cannot see each other's immediate moves until the next update. At 0800 BST, Azzam was 30 miles ahead of Team Campos with 130 miles to go and is expected to finish the race today sometime before dusk.
"We took the gybe offshore as a precaution," commented Ian walker by satellite phone to the RORC Media Team. "We wanted to stay in the best pressure and get a good angle to the Scilly Isles but avoid the TSS (Traffic Separation Scheme). Compared to the last four days, we are racing in comfortable conditions with the off watch able to get some sleep. However, we expect our lead to be whittled away over the next few hours as the breeze develops from behind. In the Volvo Ocean Race many legs end with this scenario. As we approach land the wind can change for the leader, allowing the boats behind to catch up. We have a big lead but if we park up, even for a couple of hours, it will completely vanish."
The battle for third in the Volvo Ocean 65 Class is currently being led by Team Dongfeng, skippered by Frenchman Charles Caudrelier. The Chinese entry for the forthcoming Volvo Ocean Race was 16 miles ahead of SCA, skippered by Sam Davies, and Alvimedica, skippered by Charlie Enright.
An Extraordinary Series of Events
Sidney Gavignet and the crew of Musandam-Oman Sail, a MOD70 trimaran crossed the finish line of the 2014 Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race off the Royal Yacht Squadron, Cowes, at 12.42.36 BST on Thursday 14th August 2014.
This is an elapsed time of 3 days, 3 hours, 32 minutes, 36 seconds and, subject to ratification by the World Speed Sailing Record Council, a new Outright World Record for the Round Britain and Ireland course and a new race record for the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race.
It was almost unthinkable that a 70ft trimaran, with no ability to decide when to start, could defeat a 140ft trimaran that had decided exactly when to set off. However a fantastic boat, a perfect performance and an extraordinary series of coincidences lined up to make the impossible a reality.
Skipper, Sidney Gavignet
"I didn't think this was possible but we had exceptional conditions and a boat with amazing potential that was used properly. 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!
Video highlights by Musandam-Oman Sail
NEWSFLASH: Musandam-Oman Sail have taken Line Honours
Day Four: AM Update
At 0700 BST, Musandam-Oman Sail was just 100 miles from finishing the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race. The MOD 70 was experiencing about 15 knots of northwesterly winds in the English Channel. Musandam-Oman Sail was still achieving a speed of 25 knots but the wind angle meant a considerable number of gybes, drastically reducing their VMG. The team have approximately five and a half hours to cover the last 100 miles; it is too close to call if they can make the line before 12:59:14 to set a new world record. The Royal Ocean Racing Club Media Team will be speaking with Musandam-Oman Sail's skipper, Sidney Gavignet, in the next few hours for a special report.
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing's Volvo Ocean 65, Azzam, has extended their lead overnight and are now over 60 miles ahead of Team Campos, skippered by Iker Martinez.
Azzam skipper, Ian Walker, confirmed that another goal is within their sights during a satellite phone call to the RORC Media Team at 0600 BST.
"We are just rounding the Blasket Islands off the South West tip of Ireland, which seems incredible seeing as we only left Cowes less than 3 days ago," commented Ian. "We now have our running spinnaker up and conditions onboard have improved markedly. We have caught up on some sleep, eaten some food and are set up for what should be our last day and a bit at sea. We have wriggled away from the chasing pack overnight and now have a nice lead which we will aim to defend from here. It seems clear that the prize at stake is not just the first Volvo 65 but will also be the race record for whoever gets there first."
Ian Walker is referring to the monohull race record, set by Franck Cammas' Groupama in 2010 of 5 days, 21 hours, 26 minutes and 55 seconds.
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.
Three is the Magic Number
Day Three: AM Update
From the start, Musandam-Oman Sail had 3 days and 3 hours to complete the course for the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race to set a new world record.
On Day Three of the race the trimaran's three hulls, sailed by three expats and three Omanis, are continuing to hammer on south. The lightening quick MOD 70 has hit the turbo charger, screaming along at 30 knots off the North West coast of Ireland. Currently Musandam-Oman Sail's expected finish time is approximately 1000 on Thursday morning, three hours inside the world record set by Loick Peyron's 140ft trimaran, Banque Populaire 5, in 2011.
"Records are there to be broken and it would be an honour to be bettered by such a great team," commented Loick Peyron by telephone to the Royal Ocean Racing Club. "Perhaps if they do set a new record it will also be good for the race. It will encourage other multihulls to come and try it - it is a fantastic course."
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing's Azzam is leading the fighter formation of Volvo Ocean 65s that have now all rounded Out Stack and are heading home. At dawn this morning Azzam was passing Sula Sgeir, a remote island that marks the halfway point in the race and is best known for its population of gannets. However it is unlikely that the Volvo Ocean 65s, blasting along at over 25 knots, will have the chance to do much bird watching. Ian Walker, skipper of Azzam, called the RORC Media Team just after rounding Muckle Flugga at 2000 yesterday.
Records Set to Tumble
Day Two: PM Update
Musandam - Oman Sail reached Out Stack, the rock north of Muckle Flugga and the most northerly part of the course, just before 1500 BST 12th August.
The MOD 70, skippered by Sidney Gavignet, has about 46 hours to complete the remaining 1098 miles to set a new world record. Musandam - Oman Sail has averaged an astonishing 24 knots on a screaming reach up to the top of the course and needs to average the same, or better, on the way back down. It seems that the wind gods are with them as the new breeze is from the North West and came in just as the trimaran turned for home. It looks like a reach all the way down the west coast of Scotland and Ireland and maybe, just maybe, Musandam - Oman Sail can beat the 2011 record set by Banque Populaire 5, which is twice as long as Musandam - Oman Sail.
Since the fleet left Cowes on Monday morning, the wind speed across the entire course has barely dropped below 25 knots and reports of over 40 knots of wind have been recorded by many competitors. The conditions have provided a full-on, proper wild ride but that has taken its toll with three retirements with all crew safe. The crews of Grey Power, Concise 8 and Cat Phone are all ashore and in good health. Austen Clark's Class40, Arwen, has not officially retired but the yacht is safely tied up in Great Yarmouth and competitors on the race course have relayed that all of the crew are fine. Stella Nova has also retired from the race after sustaining structural damage after hitting a large wave. They are returning towards the Dutch Coast trying to protect the boat against any further damage. The coastguard are aware and keeping in close contact with the boat. The crew are all well.
NEWSFLASH: Musandam Oman-Sail rounded Outer Stackhere.
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