Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Ericsson 4 has obliterated the 24-hour record...

Guy Salter/Ericsson 4/Volvo Ocean Race

At 1310 GMT today, Ericsson 4 (Torben Grael/BRA) obliterated the 24-hour record run for a monohull when the team recorded a run of 593.23 nautical miles. The previous record (562.96 nm) was set by ABN AMRO TWO/Sebastian Josse/FRA during leg two of the previous Volvo Ocean Race in 2006. The new mark is subject to ratification by the World Sailing Speed Record Council. PUMA (Ken Read/USA), in second place, has covered 561 nm, just short of ABNAMRO TWO's record. The new mark translates into an incredible average speedof 24.71 knots in conditions not best suited for a record-setting run.
Skipper Torben Grael and his crew have been pushing the boat hard all night, first eclipsing the previous mark at 0355 GMT. They have been adding to the record since then, although the current 30 knots of wind is likely to ease. It is a great achievement, but we were not really looking for it, said Grael in a radio interview this morning. What we were looking for was a good ride on this weather system, and to stay in it as long as possible. Grael said: We are doing 30 knots of boat speed. The wind is around 28 - ­32 knots but the waves (around eight metres) are not very good for us. Conditions are marginal. I think we have been pretty much on the edge. Perhaps if we had a better sea state, we might be able to go faster, but itis hard to go faster with waves like this.
This will be the third time that Juan Kouyoumdjian has produced arecord-breaking design. The Argentinean was responsible for drawing thelines of the two ABN AMRO boats both of whom held the record in the previousedition of the race, as well as the current Ericsson 4. For some days now the teams have been anticipating the possibility of a record-breaking run as they ride the current weather system, but concern over damage has led some to back off a little bit.