by Oman Sail
It came as a pleasant surprise to skipper Sidney Gavignet to hear that he and his crew on Musandam-Oman Sail were beating the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland course record by two hours after a supersonic first night at sea.
The Oman Sail MOD70 trimaran in action, skippered by Sidney Gavignet (FRA).
In 24 hours since the start of the race from Cowes on Monday, they have covered a remarkable 640 miles averaging speeds of 24 knots and this morning were way ahead of the rest of the fleet, more than 80 miles in front of second placed boat Azzam and rapidly approaching the turning point at the top of Scotland.
Gavignet was under the impression that despite these incredible speeds, Musandam-Oman Sail was behind the record and was thrilled when he was told the good news.
'We thought we were quite a few hours behind the course record so had decided to take it easy a bit so that is very good news to hear we are two hours ahead and great motivation for the crew,' he said.
'I don’t think we can beat Banque Populaire’s time (Three days, three hours, 49 minutes and 14 seconds) as we are almost half their size, but we will be doing our very best.'
Gavignet said they had been forced to slow down during the night due to the sea state and gusts of up to 36knots which made negotiating the hazards that are dotted around the North Sea all the more challenging. They also blew out a jib – their J1, he reported, so they are nursing their J2 and Gennaker!
'The night was a bit rough – we had to slow down a bit because of the sea state and lost a bit of time. But we are in a new weather system now and are doing nicely. There were a lot of fishing boats out but all was well. It was all good.
'We saw 36 knots of wind last night and three metre waves but the nights are short. We blew out a J1 jib yesterday but it is an old sail that we had from the beginning of the campaign and it blew out in 20 knots of wind – straight line rip with no flapping - so we have to make sure we do no more damage.'
For the first time, Musandam-Oman Sail is being raced with a six strong crew that is 50% Omani with Fahad Al Hasni, Sami Al Shukaili and Yassir Al Rahbi all part of this incredible adventure.
'The crew are doing fine – though are just starting to get a bit tired, we are setlling into the watch system,' reported Gavignet.
'It is an amazing experience especially for our two new guys Sami and Yassir – even Jan Dekker was surprised about the boat speed and how hard we were able to push the boat when I have the Route du Rhum later this year but record or not, we are trying to treat her gently, like a lady.'
Conditions had eased this morning with wind speeds of 20 knots and calmer seas but Oman Sail’s MOD70 was still charging along at around 27 knots and is due to cross the finish line back in Cowes sometime Thursday.