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Marc Guillemot smashes the solo North Atlantic record

by Mathilde Mermod on 6 Jul 2013
Safran Bi Heli Francois Van Malleghem http://www.pixsail.com/
Marc Guillemot smashed the solo North Atlantic record for a monohull with a time of eight days, five hours, 20 minutes and 20 seconds – or 15 hours, 48 minutes and 11 seconds less than the previous record set by the British skipper Alex Thomson in July 2012. Finishing at 0439hrs UTC (0639hrs CET), the skipper of Safran covered the 2880 miles of the distance between New York and The Lizard at an average speed of 14.59 knots. He is now on his way back to his home port of la Trinité-sur-Mer in Brittany.

He’s done it! Marc Guillemot has become the new title holder of the prestigious North Atlantic record between New York and The Lizard. The skipper of Safran, who previously smashed the record twice with a crew on a multihull (in 1984 and 1988), has done it again on his first attempt sailing solo on a monohull.

'I’m very pleased with this new record. Particularly as the pace was very demanding, with a lot of commitment and little sleep,' explained Marc a few minutes after crossing the finishing line of the legendary record. 'I set off at good speed from New York and the first part of the crossing was very tricky along the coast of Newfoundland, where we had to watch out for a lot of shipping, floating rubbish, whales... Then, I was in the mist almost all the way to the longitude of the Azores. I moved along with one low-pressure area then another. I always had plenty of wind with one particular exception: the final 24 hours, when I was seriously slowed down with an area of calms associated with the Azores High. With wind right up to the finish, I would have got a better time, but for now, I’m just enjoying this great performance.'

Before setting out from New York, Marc Guillemot said that he wanted to do something amazing sailing solo to get over his early exit from the Vendée Globe. He has now done just that. 'We didn’t give up and it’s great to bounce back like this. It’s good for me, for the team and for Safran, which has invested so much technically. We have proved that Safran is a boat we can rely on.'

There was a race within the record and Marc Guillemot has also won his duel with the Polish skipper, Zbigniew Gutkowski. He moved ahead thanks to better timing with a gybe as he moved up towards Ireland. 'This battle against Gutek was a source of additional satisfaction. Unlike most record attempts, I wasn’t just racing against the clock,' stressed Marc.

Safran is now heading back to her home port of la Trinité-sur-Mer. Marc Guillemot will be competing in the Fastnet Race in August racing double-handed with Pascal Bidégorry. A good way to prepare for the Transat Jacques Vabre that the two men will take part in on Safran next November.

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