Francis Joyon on on the maxi trimaran IDEC II shatters the North Atlantic Record in an amazing 5 days, 2 hours, 56 minutes and 10 seconds. That is 16 hours, 24 minutes and 30 seconds faster than the record previously established by Thomas Coville in 2008!
Records Francis Joyon has previously broken.
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’
Fog delayed the start of the first race of the UK J Class Regatta series 2012, postponing the 1200 start, positioned one mile south of Pendennis Point, by one hour.
By twelve o clock, the sun was still struggling to break through but visibility had improved enough to get the UK regattas underway. As 1300 approached, the number of spectators on the water grew towards the hundreds. Almost all spectators kindly complied with the race officers’ request to keep the start line clear.
After the ten minute gun, the yachts started circling and manoeuvring for the best starting positions, the atmosphere getting more and more tense as the minutes ticked away. The last few minutes were thrilling for all spectators.
At the start, the boats split into two sections; Lionheart and Ranger at the end of the line, and Rainbow and Velsheda at the port end.
As they accelerated towards the windward mark at Helford River, the support ribs and spectator fleet gamely tried to keep up.
Ranger, who had sailed on the seaward side of the course, managed to pull in front by a few boat lengths and by the time she’d rounded the windward mark had stretched her lead to 200 metres, along the short spreader reach, turning downwind and launching her 10,000 sq. Ft. Spinnaker.
Lionheart was next around the mark, but after an early gybe she ran into a spinnaker problem and was forced to drop it on deck and launch another, smaller spinnaker. This proved costly as she slipped to last place further down the leg.
Meanwhile, Velsheda and Rainbow sailed with spinnakers offshore, picking up a fresh wind from the seaward side and by the end of the leg, with freshening wind, closing the distance on Ranger.
After around 2.5 hours of racing in various wind strengths across the bay, the race was shortened, with Ranger crossing the line first, comfortably ahead of Velsheda and Rainbow, with Lionheart some distance behind.
1 – Ranger
2 – Velsheda
3 – Rainbow
4 – Lionheart
Organisers of the Superyacht Cup are preparing for one of their biggest years in 2012 as the entry lists for the popular Palma regatta and the brand new Superyacht Cup Cowes, UK have surged over the last two months.
Currently over 20 superyachts have registered for the special edition of the Superyacht Cup in Cowes, UK from 22-25 July 2012 to take place just a few days before the start of the 2012 London Olympics. Meanwhile, the Palma Superyacht Cup (20-23 June 2012) has already received 15 entries with just 5 spaces left for yachts wanting to moor at the Muelle Viejo dock.
The first ever Superyacht Cup Cowes is gathering momentum and at the current time many of the registered yachts have found suitable moorings in Cowes quite a task when you consider the vast size of some of the participating yachts. The Cowes Harbour Commission have been instrumental in accommodating the needs of the fleet and understanding the importance of the yachts being able to have easy access to Cowes and the Royal Yacht Squadron. “We are used to having large fleets of yachts visiting Cowes at one time but the size and draft requirements of the Superyacht Cup fleet has given us a new challenge” commented Stuart McIntosh, Cowes Habour Master. “But I am pleased to confirm we have so far found berths for all the enquiries, and expect to accommodate many more. We have the option of laying additional moorings and a limited number of berths are still available at various locations in the vicinity of Cowes. It will certainly add to the atmosphere of the event to have the fleet together.”
The Royal Yacht Squadron will be the central base for the regatta with the race office, registration, opening cocktail reception and prize-giving all taking place in the spectacular setting of the club pavilion with views over the Solent. David Aisher, the Rear Commodore Yachting, expressed his support and enthusiasm for the regatta. “We have been delighted with the positive response from both the owners of these magnificent yachts and their captains. 2012 will be an exceptional year for the Club with more than our usual number of spectacular sailing events, such as this one, celebrating both her Majesty’s Golden Jubilee and the Olympics. Seeing the fleet of Superyachts sailing in the Solent really will be an event not to be missed by anyone at all interested in sailing. We look forward, very much, to welcoming all the participants to the Castle in July.”
Confirmed sponsors for both Cowes and Palma Superyacht Cup regattas include Elvström Sails and Pantaenius, whilst the Palma event has confirmed Silver sponsorships from ZIS, McMaster Yachts, Reckmann, Astilleros de Mallorca, Pendennis and the Rolling Stock Group.
Yachts wishing to enter either regatta are encouraged to contact the Superyacht Cup office as soon as possible as places are limited. Contact Kate Branagh email@example.com for more information.
Now in its 16th year, the Superyacht Cup is the longest running superyacht regatta in Europe. Traditionally held in Palma at the end of June to start the Mediterranean season, the regatta is held over 4 days with racing in the spectacular Bay of Palma. As well as competitive racing on the water, the event is as popular for its informal and fun atmosphere ashore with themed dock parties and cocktail receptions.
Scheduled for 1400 hours local time, the start of the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race took place bang on target. The English punctuality didn’t favour Groupama 70, who were delayed following a collision with another boat whilst still tied to their mooring. Setting off around fifteen minutes late, Franck Cammas and his crew powered away and managed one by one to overtake 25 of their 27 rivals in some rather harsh sailing conditions and a light worthy of Beken of Cowes.
First to cross the start line, ICAP Leopard and Telefonica Azul put on an exceptional display, firing off at 25 knots into the Solent, the sound which separates the Isle of Wight from the mainland. Despite being over 30 foot longer than the VOR 70, ICAP Leopard, with Sam Davies navigating, got irreparably left behind, as did the rest of the fairly assorted fleet.
During this time, the crew of Groupama 70 attempted to quickly hoist their mainsail. Delayed following a failed manoeuvre by a competitor, which damaged the bow of the VOR 70, Franck Cammas could only watch, powerless, as his main rival, Iker Martinez, skipper of Telefonica, took flight. A double Olympic medallist in the Forty Niner, the Spaniard couldn’t have wished for a better start.
It remains to be seen now how the skipper of Groupama 70 will react. Prior to the start, the newcomer to the VOR category had this to say: “We’re here to drive the men and Groupama 70 into a corner, as well as to see how we measure up against an experienced, high performance crew”.
Having racked up a 5-mile deficit from the outset, Cammas had no other choice but to attack. He too tracked making 25 knots of boat speed, creating fabulous plumes of water in his wake, the skipper was clearly ruling Groupama 70 with a rod of iron.
Once across the Solent, the imposed route will call for a series of tack changes under spinnaker. Favouring a more northerly course, Jean-Luc Nélias, Groupama 70′s navigator, was the first to put in a gybe. It’s a manoeuvre which, in the breeze, requires perfect synchronisation. Unfortunately this element may well have been somewhat lacking aboard Celox 40, which lost her mast.
With the wind set to remain very steady, the competitors will continue to traverse the English Channel at pace, zigzagging between the numerous cargo ships picking their way across it. Suffice to say that in these conditions, any minutes spent sleeping will be both rare and precious if they are to keep performing well…
Crew of Groupama 70
1. Franck Cammas, skipper
2. Jean-Luc Nélias, navigator
3. Laurent Pagès, watch leader
4. Magnus Woxen, watch leader
5. Charles Caudrelier, trimmer
6. Erwan Israël, trimmer, under 30 years of age
7. Martin Strömberg, trimmer and pitman, under 30 years of age
8. Sébastien Marsset, trimmer and pitman, under 30 years of age
9. Mike Pammenter, bowman, under 30 years of age
10. Martin Krite, bowman, under 30 years of age
11. Yann Riou, media crew
About the race:
Distance to cover: 1,802 nautical miles
Direction of the course: clockwise
Best race time since 1976: Artemis (IMOCA 60) in 7 days and 4 hours
Largest of this year’s boats: ICAP Leopard measuring 30 metres
Smallest of this year’s boats: Arethusa measuring 10.9 metres
Number of VORs competing: 2
Start: Cowes, Monday 23 August 2010 at 14:00
Mike Slade’s ICAP Leopard secured a second consecutive line honours victory in the Rolex Fastnet Race in the early hours of this morning. With the mixed conditions the 100ft super-maxi was considerably behind the course record she set two years ago. Arriving at the Plymouth breakwater finish line at 00:09:36 GMT, her elapsed time on this occasion was 2 days 11 hours 9 minutes and 36 seconds, compared to 1 day 20 hours 18 minutes and 53 seconds in 2007.
“It was a great race,” commented Slade. “It is always nice to have a race where there are no breakages or damage. We didn’t get into any difficult situations. We just wanted to get around fast and competently. All in all we are delighted to be here, second time running, back to back victories in this great race. A huge thanks to the RORC, our sponsors ICAP and Rolex for yet again taking an interest in yachting.”
To have broken the record would have required more wind, but despite this the 2009 Rolex Fastnet Race was still a nailbiter, said Slade. “There was a lot of light air and ‘are we going to get through a tide gate?’ It made for a very exciting race. We were always looking over our backs because, Rosebud, Ran and Luna Rossa were all there, all ganging up, only 20 miles behind all the time. So we couldn’t afford to make any mistakes.”
ICAP Leopard’s next major events are the Rolex Middle Sea Race out of Malta in October followed by the Rolex Sydney Hobart in December. “No one has ever won all three and we will give it a try,” said Slade adding that he would be back to try for a third win in the RORC’s biennial offshore classic in 2011. Specifically this is a warm-up for the race to Hobart . “There is Maximus from NZ, Alfa Romeo and Wild Oats, so we’ll have our work cut out. We will go down there and represent Britain and try and knock off the Aussies. God knows what they are going to do at the Oval [the Ashes cricket contest]. We might need to get some revenge!”
Karl Kwok’s brand new Farr 80, Beau Geste was second home, arriving in drizzly Plymouth at 03:25:03 GMT, and now tied up in Sutton Harbour. “The race has been enjoyable,” commented Kwok. “We are racing the same IRC Class SZ boats as we did in Cowes Week, so we know each other’s strengths and weaknesses more or less. Knowing that beating everyone on handicap is almost impossible, our hope was maybe line honours for the class, because once into the ocean, waterline (length) counts. So it was a drag race and we beat Ran on that one, but they are pretty close.”
Apart from three short races at Cowes Week, this was Beau Geste’s first major race and both Kwok and skipper Gavin Brady said they still have much to learn about the set-up and development of the boat. “There are still a lot of things we can still do to reduce its rating,” said Kwok, who intends to enter his new boat in all the classic races he has not yet entered. Their program includes the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup in Sardinia then the Rolex Middle Sea Race. Brady added: “It is a big ask to bring a boat like this straight into one of the biggest events in Europe as your first race, but there is a lot we can take out of it.”
Brady says that in the Rolex Fastnet Race, the leaders seemed to be connected by elastic. “Our race didn’t really start for 24 hours and in a race that is that short you are giving away a lot of race course, where you are behind your competitors. By the time we passed Ran 2 we were 13-14 hours into the race. As soon as we got up to a ten-mile lead, then the compression started again and each time that happened, there was less and less race course.”
One of the most interesting races on the water, that developed in the last few hours, was that between Niklas Zennström’s Judel Vrolijk 72, Ran 2 and BT IMOCA 60, sailed two handed by Sebastien Josse and Jean-François Cuzon. This battle from Bishop Rock to the finish was won by the French duo, arriving just over one minute ahead, the wind dropping all the time to a minimum of five knots.
“We saw Ran just before the Scilly Isles,” recounted Josse. “We crossed and we said ‘maybe these guys will gybe, because we are on starboard’. And no one moved…but then we are a bad reference because when we gybe we have to start 20 minutes before! Then eventually we saw the bowman go on the bow, furl the staysail and in seconds they were away. So I said ‘maybe we won’t match race with these guys because we’ll lose’.”
Nonetheless in the VMR running conditions, the blue IMOCA 60 stayed ahead, despite having run headlong into a moon fish while crossing the Celtic Sea and running out of diesel by the time they reached the finish.
Despite being beaten on the water by BT IMOCA 60, this was of little consequence to Niklas Zennström and the crew of Ran 2. This morning they remain the leader overall on handicap.
“I think we knew it would be up to the last bit here, but I think we have a good chance,” commented the Skype founder on their prospects of a handicap win in what is the first major offshore race for their new boat. “We didn’t lose so much here at the last bit. We had a good breeze all the way in, so we have a good chance. But now we have to wait and see.”
Zennström had no regrets about bringing his boat all the way back up to UK from the Mediterranean, to where it will now return. “One of the objectives when we built the boat was to race a Rolex Fastnet Race competitively. Two years ago we had to pull out – so we had some revenge to do…”
According to Ran 2 navigator Steve Hayles, they ended up arriving in Plymouth three hours earlier than he had anticipated yesterday. After the distance between the front runners compressed as they reached Bishop Rock, he says it was not the wind speed but the direction that saved them on the final run home. “It stayed a bit more westerly and it didn’t go around to the north, so we didn’t have all the issues of trying to get under the land. We ended up running down in here.” They then got less foul tide passing the Lizard, extending their lead over the boats astern.
This morning the lead boats in IRC Class Z have been rounding the Fastnet Rock, with the majority of the fleet still crossing the Celtic Sea outbound. Under handicap, Piet Vroon’s new Ker 46, Tonnerre de Breskens has taken the lead in IRC Z and is now most of the way back to Bishop Rock. French boats continue to dominate the small handicap classes. The Grand Soleil 43 Codiam remains in front of Class 1, having rounded the rock at 0300 GMT. Just short of the rock, the A35 Prime Time has taken over first place in Class 2, while the Dufour 34 Major Tom is still first in Class 3.
1) ICAP Leopard, Mike Slade (GBR) – 00:09:36 GMT
2) Beau Geste, Karl Kwok (HK) – 03:25:03
3) BT IMOCA 60, Sebastien Josse (FRA) – 04:00:15
4) Ran 2, Niklas Zennström (SWE) – 04:01:33
5) Artemis Ocean Racing, Sam Davies (UK) and Sidney Gavignet (FRA) – 05:15:41
6) Safran, Marc Guillemot (FRA) – 05:56:18
7) Team Pindar, Mike Sanderson (NZ) – 06:15:42
Aviva, Dee Caffari (UK) – 06:57:13
9) Luna Rossa, Flavio Flavini (ITA) – 07:01:54
10) Rosebud Team DYT, Roger Sturgeon (USA) – 07:45:37
11) Akena Verandas, Arnaud Boissières (FRA) – 08:34:51