After approximately 2 days and 4 hours at sea in the face of impossible odds the crew of Virgin Money had to admit defeat on their first attempt to set a new world record for the fastest mono-hull crossing of the Atlantic Ocean. After 2 days that saw the crew and Virgin Money overcome seas of 40ft and gale force winds of between 7 and 9 their dreams were finally dashed when a ‘monster wave’ took out the spinnaker, washed a ten man life boat overboard and ripped a huge gash in the mainsail.
Speaking to Mission Control after the decision to abandon the record attempt this time round, the crew were frustrated but upbeat about the boat’s performance and chances of success in the future. Co-skipper Sir Richard Branson said: “I am surrounded by the most amazing group of world class sailors - all of whom are still committed to getting this record – its just a shame it wasn’t to be on this attempt. Virgin Money will soon be fighting fit and ready to take on the Atlantic again in the very near future. Taking on an ocean like the Atlantic was never going to be easy – I know that only too well having been defeated by her once before on Virgin Challenger 1 - you learn to respect the awesome power of this ocean and to admit when she has you beat. But I truly believe that next time, as with Virgin Challenger 11, Virgin Money will set a new world record that will secure its place in the record books for many years to come.”
From onboard Virgin Money fellow co-skipper Mike Sanderson was characteristically laid back: “Well that was a fairly exciting trip… We all knew, as a result of leaving so late in the season, we were in for a bumpy ride – we just didn’t suspect it to be this bumpy. We had a good go at repairing the mainsail at sea but it wasn’t possible in the conditions we were experiencing. Lady Luck was not smiling down on us this time round. Virgin Money performed well and she’ll be good to go again just as soon as we get the mainsail repaired.”
The crew and Virgin Money are expected in St George’s Customs Dock, Bermuda at 5pm local (9pm BST). Read more at http://uk.virginmoney.com/challenge/