Flying François Gabart smashes 24hr solo sailing record at 545.3 miles, average speed 22.3
lundi 10 décembre 2012 –
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The youngest skipper in the race who, remarkably, is a rookie to solo sailing in the Southern Ocean has set a set a truly electric pace – consistently at a level which none of his rivals have matched – to send the 24 hours solo monohull distance record soaring to a seemingly stratospheric 545.3 miles over the 24 hours to 1500hrs UTC this afternoon.
By 0800hrs UTC this morning 29 years old Gabart had already bettered the recent mark of rival Jean-Pierre Dick, set only ten days ago at a yet to be ratified 502.9 mm when he made 515.6 miles.
This new best 24 hours distance, riding at the front of a generous low in a good sized, orderly swell reflects an average speed of 22.3 kts and also surpasses easily the two handed record of Dick and Loick Peyron at 506.333 nm set in the last Barcelona World Race.
For a solo ocean racer on a 60 footer, 30 days into a non stop, no outside assistance three month race, the distance even compares impressively against the outright crewed monohull record of 596.6 miles set in the 2008-9 Volvo Ocean Race by Ericsson, and is only 21 miles shy of the best 24 hour run on the last Volvo Ocean Race.
“ I can’t really explain why I’m going so fast in the same weather conditions as the others… Maybe my sail settings are different from Armel’s. I’m sailing at 22-26 knots, and it should be like that for several more hours. It’s very noisy but you get used to it, same for how much the boat shakes. These things become familiar conditions, the norm.” reported Gabart .
“ The autopilot is just fine, the boat is perfectly balanced, so I’m not even worrying about that. That’s what allows us to sail fast and effortlessly.”
Whilst the record as it stands is a nice Indian Ocean souvenir for Gabart and his Macif team, looking longer term the race’s youngest skipper is sitting with the highest average speed for the actual miles sailed so far in the race, presently at 14.9kts. Compared with the 2008-9 average of Gabart’s mentor Michel Desjoyeaux, at 14kts for his existing record of 84 days 03 hours 09 minutes, then a sub 80 days circumnavigation is on target.
Gabart’s attack took him back into the overall lead this afternoon, ahead of Armel Le Cléac’h by just over one mile after making up more than 54 miles to Le Cléach’s Banque Populaire since yesterday evening.