British solo sailor, Alex Thomson has smashed the single-handed monohull transatlantic record, by more than 24 hours, crossing the finish line at Lizard Point, off Falmouth in Cornwall, in time to get back for the London Olympic Opening ceremony.
The 38 year old sailor crossed the line at 17:17 GMT (18:17 BST) setting the new time at 8 days 22 hours 8 minutes, beating the previous record, subject to ratification by the World Sailing Speed Record Council, which had been held for 10 years.
“It has been a long few days,” said Alex. “The first half from New York was great with weather conditions in our favour, but things started to slow down the closer I got. But the wind has held out this morning and it’s so fantastic to have broken this record.”
Alex set sail from New York on July 17th at 19.09GMT to cover 2800 nautical miles in a quest to break the record for what is officially known as the ‘West to East Ambrose Lighthouse to Lizard Point Under 60ft Single-Handed Monohull Record, Male’, which sat at 10 days, 55 minutes and 19 seconds, and was set by Swiss sailor Bernhard Stamm 10 years ago.
His secondary aim was to get home in time for the 2012 London Olympic Games Opening Ceremony in order to support Chairman and good friend, Sir Keith Mills.
“When I set off I had no idea if I was going to be able to do it. And it has been hard. Lack of sleep, broken instruments on the boat and constant exposure to the elements has really taken it out of me. But it’s such a good feeling to have beaten it by such a great margin,” said Alex.
But the record breaking achievement is only half of the story. Alex is in fact lining up to attempt to be the first Brit ever to win the gruelling single-handed round-the-world race, the Vendee Globe, leaving from France in November on board his 60ft monohull, HUGO BOSS. And this record breaking achievement puts him in good stead.
“This record attempt was also a training exercise for the Vendee Globe,” said Alex. “We felt this record attempt would put me under real pressure and stimulate race conditions and I have felt a real value in it.”
He is one of three British competitors who will take part in the non-stop, solo, unassisted round-the-world yacht race starting in Les Sables d’Olonne in France, on November 10th. Currently only 50% of attempts to complete the race have been successful in the race known as the ‘Everest of sailing’
With the forthcoming 2011 Extreme Sailing Series™ venues, teams and innovations due to be revealed at a Press Conference in Portugal on 13 December, for the next four weekends British viewers can relive the action from the 2010 circuit that is changing the way sailing is seen.
Four, half-hour shows, presented by double Olympic Gold Medalist Shirley Robertson and produced by Sunset+Vine|APP, kick off this Saturday 27 November at 7.25am on Channel 4. With on-board cameras on every Extreme 40 catamaran, the series takes the viewer into the heart of the racing where crews compete within a few meters of the crowds on tiny, ‘stadium-style’ race courses. Featuring Olympic Gold Medallists, multiple World Champions, round the World sailing stars and America’s Cup racers, the action is intense and even the very best are caught out. With closing speeds in excess of fifty knots and the potential for spectacular capsizes when it’s windy there is plenty of opportunity for drama.
CLICK HERE to watch the trailer for the Channel 4 TV Series
And the 2010 circuit had plenty of drama…
The first man to lead a crew around the planet in less than fifty days was stopped in his tracks at the UK round in a crash that left him with no control. Heading towards a concrete wall at twenty knots he makes the call to abandon ship. At the Italian round in Trapani wild winds hit the fleet which saw the premier sailors lose control as their bows head deep underwater, the crew suspended in mid air with no steerage. And at the finale in Spain the youngest skipper on the tour has less than a second to decide whether to sail safe or take a risk that could see his season end in shattered carbon fibre.
Five events, 130 races, 14 teams, but who will be crowned overall 2010 Extreme Sailing Series™ Champions? Watch this weekend, and for the next three weeks, on Channel 4 to find out more.
Channel 4 broadcast dates and times:
November 27th – 0725 (then at 0825 on Channel 4 plus 1)
December 4th – 0725 (then at 0825 on Channel 4 plus 1)
December 11th – 0725 (then at 0825 on Channel 4 plus 1)
December 18th – 0730 (then at 0830 on Channel 4 plus 1)
The UK round of the 2009 iShares Cup circuit kicks off tomorrow, with Day 1 of the iShares Cup at Cowes Week. Today’s practice races saw three different victors over 3 races with Jean-Christophe Mourniac (LUNA), Yann Guichard (Gitana Extreme – Groupe LCF Rothschild) and Nick Moloney (BT) winning the final practice race today. Tricky conditions in the light and shifty breeze, and some over-zealous starts, has not provided a clear form guide but a good shakedown for the Extreme 40 crews ahead of the serious business that starts tomorrow at 2.00pm.
After two rounds on the six-stage European circuit the iShares Cup leaderboard is still wide open, especially now current overall leaders BMW ORACLE Racing have been forced to miss the Cowes event due to commitments testing their new America’s Cup boat in San Diego, USA. Of the nine racing teams, this puts Oman Sail’s Masirah in pole position after their win at the second round in Hyères, France last month. However, Masirah are on equal points with Gitana Extreme-Groupe LCF Rothschild, winners of the season opener in Venice.
Pete Cumming, skipper of Masirah: “We’re in an ideal position, and obviously after Hyères we’re going into this event pretty confident but at every event different teams come back stronger and stronger so you’d be a fool to count anyone else out of the game. The only time we ever really look at the results is going into the final double points race because you can’t do anything about everyone else, so we’ll just keep our heads down and try and sail clean and not pick up any stupid penalties – which I think will be pretty tricky here!”
BMW ORACLE Racing are planning to rejoin the iShares Cup circuit at the next venue in Kiel, Germany, later this month – with up to 24 races at each venue, James Spithill and crew can still be in contention for the title at the halfway stage of the series.
Just behind Gitana Extreme, Oman Sail’s stable mate Renaissance, skippered by Loick Peyron, is one point behind in fourth overall, whilst the French multihull squad on Groupama 40 are just four points further adrift in fifth. Groupama 40 has a new skipper for the iShares Cup at Cowes Week, as Franck Cammas this week set off on a transatlantic record attempt on the giant multihull Groupama 3. He will be replaced by Olympic catamaran sailor and former 470 class world champion Gildas Philippe. Meanwhile, on Team iShares crew Winston McFarlane steps in for fellow Kiwi Jonathan Macbeth. McFarlane has sailed with Team New Zealand in several America’s Cups. Extreme 40 class creator Mitch Booth is, once again, the helmsman for BT standing in for an injured Darren Bundock.
The iShares Cup racing will take place on a short shore-side course set just off Egypt Point, on Cowes Espalanade. The third venue will bring new challenges to the crews, including the Solent’s strong tides and rocky coastline to avoid, and some strong breezes. Tim Hancock, Race Director, confirmed: “Tomorrow the forecast wind is going to be southerly, about 12-15 knots. Saturday’s current forecast is south-westerly 10-12, Sunday it’s going lighter but the wind will swing around to the north-west, and Monday will be the windiest day, on a north-westerly currently forecast around 16 knots, although there’ll be gusts of more than that I’m sure.”
The iShares Cup sailors will be joined by some celebrity sportsmen and women… On Monday Arctic adventurer Ben Fogle will be sailing with fellow Champagne G.H.Mumm Cordon Rouge Club member Mike Golding on Ecover; record-breaking offshore sailor Dee Caffari will join Shirley Robertson on Team iShares on Sunday; while Iwan Thomas, Olympic and Commonwealth 400m medallist, will be sailing on Ecover on Friday.
Racing kicks off on Saturday, 1st August at 2pm, with a full afternoon of up to eight short, sharp races planned. The iShares Cup racing continues on Sunday, 2nd and Monday, 3rd August .
17 year old British sailor Mike Perham set out from Panama tlast night on the final stage of his record attempt to become the youngest solo yachtsman to take on the world. Sailing the Open 50 race yacht TotallyMoney.com. Mike set out on this extraordinary odyssey from Gunwharf Quay Portsmouth, England on , 2008 and now expects to make a triumphant return within four weeks.
Mike from , first hit the headlines two years ago when he became the youngest person ever to sail across the Atlantic single-handed at the age of just fourteen – a record recognised by the .
The Guinness encyclopaedia of record facts and feats is monitoring Mike’s progress once more. Earlier this month, American teenager Zac returned to Los Angeles to claim the youngest solo circumnavigation record, but Mike is three and a half months younger and has until mid November to get his name into the record books. Mike Broughton, the British weather guru, who has been advising Perham throughout his record attempt, forecasts a 29 day voyage back to Portsmouth to give the 17 year old more than 2 months to spare.
During Mike’s circumnavigation, which is sponsored by TotallyMoney.com , Vocalink, Skechers Footwear, Mastervolt, Kemp Sails and many other companies, he has overcome everything nature can throw at him including storm force winds and 50ft seas. He has also had to overcome major problems with his yacht’s self-steering system, rudder bearings and electrics. Stopping for repairs added months to the voyage and led to Mike missing the seasonal weather window for rounding Cape Horn. Continued bad weather in the Southern Ocean, which had Totallymoney.com surfing down waves at crazy speeds up to 28knots, eventually forced the teenager to sail much further north than he had intended and sensibly, he re routed his return to the Atlantic via the .
Mike’s daily blogs and videos have been an inspiration to thousands who read and watch them each day. Mixing picturesque sunsets with ferocious seas, he describes with remarkable insight, his encounters with whales and dolphins, – and contrasting rubbish that litter the sea. Mike said today: “I’m finally on the last leg and it feels just great. I only have about 5,000 miles to go, so I am hoping to be home inside four weeks. I really can’t wait, but I won’t push the boat too hard, as I would not want anything to happen that might have been preventable.“
Money raised by Mike during the 28,000-mile voyage is being donated to Save the Children and the .
The Maxi Trimaran New York!V in
The French boat MAXI TRIMARAN BANQUE POPULAIRE V, the largest ocean racing trimaran in the world, arrived the 27th of June in New-York! Then it will be on stand-by to establish the North Atlantic record (from New York to the Lizard, England).
The boat will be moored on the gateway marina in Brooklyn and it will be sailing a while in the bay of Manhattan before the departure for the record.
Crew List for the record attempt
Ronan Lucas – number one
Kévin Escoffier – coxswain/ruler
Yvan Ravussin – shift leader
Ewen Clech – number one
Sebastien Audigane – shift leader
Florent Chastel – number one
Marcel Van Triest – navigator embarked Yann Eliès – coxswain/ruler
Pierre-Yves Moreau – ruler/number one
Course: It is the headlight of Ambrose at the exit of bay of New York which will be used as starting point of the attempt. In Europe, it is extremely logically the headland of the Cape Lizard in the south-west of English Cornwall which will point the arrival.
History of the record as a crew: 1905: Charlie Barr on Atlantic – Goélette – 12j 4:1 min 19s 1980: Eric Tabarly on Paul Ricard – Trimaran – 10j 5:14 min 20s 1981: Marc Pajot on Elf Aquitaine 1 – Catamaran – 9j 10:6 min 34s 1984: Patrick Morvan on Jet Services 2 – Catamaran – 8j 16:36 min 1985: Loïc Caradec on Royal 2 – Catamaran – 7j 21:5 min 42s 1987: Philippe Baby in-arms on Fleury Michon VIII – Trimaran – 7j 12:49 min 34s 1988: Serge Madec on Jet Services 5 – Catamaran – 7j 6:32 min 1990: Serge Madec on Jet Services 5 – Catamaran – 6j 13:3 min 32s 2001: Steve Fossett on PlayStation – Catamaran – 4j 17:28 min 6s 2006: Bruno Peyron on Orange II – Catamaran – 4j 8:23 min 54s 2007: Franck Cammas on Groupama 3 – Trimaran – 4j 3:57 min 54s Time to beat: 4 days 3 hours 57 minutes and 57 seconds
Monday 16 March 2009, A key point in the IMOCA Class’ calendar is announcing its new World Champion. This time the annual title goes to 32 year old Armel le Cleac’h. He shares the IMOCA Championship podium with Marc Guillemot and Michel Desjoyeaux, exactly the same podium as the Vendée Globe, but the reverse way round. Armel, skipper of Brit Air, has won his place by finishing second in both the Artemis Transat and the Vendée Globe. The Vendée Globe obviously carries the maximum points in the championship, and all 12 sailors that completed it will be rewarded accordingly. This year the top ten rankings is made up of 5 French skippers, 4 Brits and 1 American. Amongst them will be Sam Davies in 4th place who was the first Brit and first woman to finish the race.
So at the age of 32, since winning the ‘Solitaire du Figaro’ in 2003, Armel has gradually but convincingly established himself on the IMOCA circuit. He is hoping to add to this recent accolade by winning the 2009 Transat Jacques Vabre.
Armel Le Cleac’h commented on winning :
« We are really happy! This title goes to the whole team who have worked together since the start of the project. Consistency reaps rewards. The whole way through the project our main aim was always to have a really good Vendée Globe and to finish in the best possible place we could. We’ve finished second in the two greatest solo races on the circuit. That proves that we got our timing right, and had the right approach, even if we were denied an actual win. As far as the boat’s concerned, we got it right, as at no point have we had to make any major modifications after any of the races. I’m also really pleased that my sponsor Brit Air has made it as IMOCA World Champion after only three years in sailing. I’d like to finish by saying that it’s a great podium, I’m just in front of Marc who has vast experience and has one of the best boats and then obviously there is the winner of the Vendée Globe, Michel Desjoyeaux himself. It goes without saying that (sharing the podium with them) gives me a lot of pleasure. I’m continuing this season with Brit Air and would really like to finish it off by winning the Transat Jacques Vabre for the first time. »
The 2008 IMOCA World Championship Top 10
1 Armel Le Cleac’h FRA 371
2 Marc Guillemot FRA 368
3 Michel Desjoyeaux FRA 351
4 Samantha Davies GBR 338
5 Vincent Riou FRA 316
6 Arnaud Boissieres FRA 290
7 Dee Caffari GBR 288
8 Brian Thompson GBR 260
9 Steve White GBR 256
10 Richard Wilson USA 226
The 2008 title is made up from the coefficients from the Vendée Globe (coef 10) and The Artemis Transat (coef 4).
IMOCA Champions (since the Championship creation in 1991)
2008 Armel Le Cleach (France)
2007 Bernard Stamm (Suisse)
2006 Jean Le Cam (France)
2005 Mike Golding (UK)
2004 Mike Golding (UK)
2003 Bernard Stamm (Suisse)
2002 Roland Jourdain (France)
2001 Roland Jourdain (France)
EXTRACTS FROM ARMEL LE CLEAC’H’s CV :
Born on 11th May 1977, married with 1 child. He lives in Gouesnach (Finistère).
2009 2nd in the Vendée Globe
IMOCA World Champion
2008 2nd in The Artemis Transat
2007 7th in the Transat Jacques Vabre with Nicolas Troussel
2006 Became skipper of Brit Air
4th in The Route Du Rhum – La Banque Postale
4th in the Solitaire Afflelou Le Figaro
2005 Skipper onboard trimaran Foncia
2004 Winner of AG2R Transat with Nicolas Troussel / Figaro
2003 Winner of the Solitaire Afflelou Le Figaro
2000 2nd in the Solitaire du Figaro
1999 Winner of the Crédit Agricole Challenge Espoir
Challenge and Adventure’s Colin Merry attended a talk by Pete last night at the Royal Victoria yacht club. It was billed as ”Talisker Tales”. It turned out to be four separate talks taking in most if not all of his sailing life leading up to arriving in Spirit of Mystery. There was a hilarious section when in the Royal Marines he was told that he was doing the double handed race to New York from England. Both he and his partner didn’t have a clue how to navigate to America so they followed the sunsets and the vapour trails of the jets flying overhead! The second part was about the Vendee in which he rescued fellow competitor Rapheal Dinelli’. I don’t remember anyone moving so much as a muscle during this narrative! Team Philips got her own slot with video to back up the fact that she worked and worked well. Then came the story of ’”Spirit of’Mystery” from her inception through the build period and finally the voyage with all it’s highs and lows! All in all an evening of pure sailing pleasure listening to a man who can capture and carry an audience! An evening that this reporter would thoroughly recommend to anyone who has the slightest interest in sailing or adventure!
After 126 days 5 hrs 31 mins and 56 secs at sea Sedlacek crossed the finish line off Les Sables d’Olonne at 17hrs 33 min 56 secs GMT, the delighted soloist – who started his sailing career on a six metres boat on the shallow waters of Vienna’s Neusiedler See as leisure diversion from his life as a tram driver – was simply ecstatic to finally complete the race among an excited flotilla of well wishers and spectator boats on a perfect sunny Sunday afternoon. Sedlacek sailed the theoretical distance of 24,840 miles at 8.2 knots after covering 27,707 miles on the water at an average speed of 9.15 knots.
Sedlacek’s sheer pleasure this afternoon is doubled by the fact that this is his second attempt at the race. He had to retire in 2004 after just less than a month of racing, sailing back into Cape Town bitterly disappointed after suffering a mechanical failure with his canting keel system on his aluminium hulled boat which was built in 1996.
The Austrian skipper has shown the same grit, drive and determination throughout his race that has propelled him from the dissatisfaction with his life between the rails, driving a tram in Vienna, to sailing round the world on a 28 foot Wolf boat which he built himself in a parking lot in 1998 and which he sailed around Italy, the Mediterranean and Gibraltar, before sailing around the world. His longest period at sea until this Vendée Globe had been 93 days sailing from Cape Town. In 2000-01 he took part in an Antarctic challenge on a Garcia 54 to become the first Austrian to achieve this feat. He is an almost entirely self taught sailor who knows every centimetre and every fitting on his boat which was built for the 1996 Vendée Globe, but which Sedlacek has extensively remodelled and rebuilt. Of all the skippers in the race there is little doubt that Sedlacek spent more hours steering his boat, sometimes to feel more in control in the conditions, sometimes simply to challenge himself to see how many hours he could do, and sometimes just to enjoy the pleasant weather.
His story is an appropriately uplifting and inspiring one to safely draw to an end this epic sixth edition of the race. His has been a race which should prove as much of a focus to galvanise the adventurers and the dreamers to get going for the next race, or the one after that, as was the amazing win of Michel Desjoyeaux who finished
Throughout it he has proven his excellent seamanship, but he has regularly admitted that he has enjoyed every day of his race, sometimes relishing the tough conditions. While he has pushed on prudently he was hit by one of the biggest storms of the race in the South Atlantic after the Falklands Islands when he was struck by a violent depression which hit Nauticsport-Kapsch with gusts of over 80 knots. While others may have, at times buckled or strained under the many different challenges of this race, Sedlacek has positively thrived and has always delighted in ticking them off, reporting back a few days after, typically describing storms as ‘a bit sportif’ or ‘stressy’
He lost the use of his wind instruments on the 23rd January and has sailed without them since. Two days later his mainsail luff track was further damaged near the top of the mast, and it was the Doldrums nearly a month later that he could climb the mast when he was only able to consolidate the damaged track rather than repair it. While he was up the mast he discovered some cracking to the top of the mast, almost certainly the result of the strain on the topmast when the headsail went in the water.
On the 31st January he was hit by a big, very active low pressure system in the South Atlantic which he rode out, seeing winds of over 80 knots in some white-out gusts.
Completing the race brings to an end a remarkable chapter in his sailing career. As a teenager Norbert was more into his football and other active sports. He trained formally and worked as a waiter in the Vienna Hilton before taking a job driving trams in the Austrian capital city. It was while in his early 20’s and he was doing this that he took up sailing on the shallow lakes. He read voraciously of the adventures of Tabarly, of Austria’s first circumnavigator Wolfgang Hausner, and many others, regularly missing stops and forgetting to start from the tram terminus because he was so engrossed in his sailing reading.
Sedlacek has been consistent when he has said he intends to go forward and do the next race in a better boat, but at least this time he will return to his marine chandlery and clothing business in Vienna a satisfied skipper, even if it proves his thirst for adventure has been heightened just as much as it has been quenched by his first successful Vendée Globe.
Les Sables –Equator 17 days 14h 18 mins
Les Sables – Cape of Good Hope 34 days 17h 33 mins
Les Sables – Cape Leeuwin 51 days 7h 38 mins
Les Sables – Cape Horn 87 days 2h 05 mins
Les Sables-Les Sables 126 days 5h 31mins