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The Volvo Ocean Race Class achieved its feat by becoming the first single hull boat to cover 530 nautical miles within 24 hours.
Averaging 22,08 knots over 24 hours, the VO70 skippered by Bouwe Bekking, was able to carry the 9 other passengers from the Spanish MoviStar Sailing Team to a new record, covering 530 miles over 24 hours.
The VO70 spent some four days out at Wellington (New Zealand) en route to Cape Horn (Chile) travelling south-southeast some 2.000 miles in an attempt to break the record, which was essentially a practice run for the forthcoming Volvo Ocean Race which commences on November 12, 2005. The race sees all the competitors starting at different locations around the world to complete the 31,250 nautical miles – 57,875 kilometres – of race.
Speed records are ratified by the World Speed Sailing Record Council after receiving all the information from the Volvo Ocean Race, the organisation that monitors the boat’s position 24 hours a day.
The previous record for a single hull yacht under 60 foot managed 484 miles over the same 24 period, averaging 20,16 knots of speed, and was set by the Illbruk of John Kostecki on April 30, 2002.
One member of the Sailing Team, Iker Martínez, the Spanish 49er gold medallist in Athens 2004, spoke about the feat noting “”we averaged 22,08 knots over 24 hours. The boat literally flew! It’s hard to describe the sensation as it cuts through the waves at this speed””.
The current world speed record holder for single hull sailing is held by a boat twice the length of the MoviStar: the 140 foot Mari Cha IV, owned and skippered by Britain’s Robert Miller. The British boat, which differs as well in that it carried 24 men aboard (in comparison to the MoviStar 10), set the record on October 7, 2003, covering 525,7 miles over 24 hours, averaging 21,9 knots.
The next challenge for Bekking is Cape Horn, but having already made the passage on various occasions, he knows that it must be approached with respect. “”Our trip to Wellington was supposed to be uncomplicated, but we encountered tough conditions in sea and wind. Now with the speed record behind us, our team is eager to take on the next challenge”” notes Bekking.
Passing through parallels 42 to 55, the team will soon reach this unique spot, a goal in itself for many sailors such as offshore helmsman Iker Martínez “despite all the technology and advancements that come with modern day racing, you’re up against the whims of the elements. We hope to encounter good conditions and carry on the journey without complications””.
Alterations to the carbon fibre construction are still being made prior to the race, which was constructed using a wooden male mould first, and then used this as the base for a female carbon fibre mould. The company said that this is a somewhat longer process but it means that the external part of the hull will require no filling whatsoever, something which helps them to reduce the weight and adhere to the strict regulations of meeting a minimum weight per square metre set by the race organizers.
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