Illbruck sets 24-hour record
LONDON, England -- Volvo Ocean Race leader Illbruck has set a new world 24-hour sailing record.
Illbruck sailed 481 nautical miles at an average speed of 20 knots, breaking the 24-hour monohull world record that was set by Bernard Stamm on the Open 60 Armor Lux of 467.70 nm on a transatlantic crossing in January 2001.
The feat also breaks the previous 24-hour record for the Volvo Ocean race, set by fellow competitor SEB on the second leg of the round-the-world race.
The Volvo Ocean Race is into its seventh of nine legs. Leg seven is due to finish on May 10 in La Rochelle, France.
The record is still provisional and has to be ratified by the World Sailing Speed Record Council.
Illbruck's positions for the record were derived from a Satcom C unit and were remotely measured between two GPS positions over a 24-hour period by the Volvo race headquarters.
It is very possible that Illbruck's glory will be short lived as several other of the Volvo 60's are close to record pace.
Illbruck skipper John Kostecki said: "We have had favourable winds out of the northwest which have provided us with ideal reaching conditions for maintaining top speeds. We have been averaging over 20 knots for the last 12 hours," said Kostecki.
Kostecki also said that the favourable current of the warm Gulf Stream that can run as fast as four knots has helped their record pace.
"Of course you have to pay the price...it is very wet on deck, constant fire hose spray. At least the water is very warm, around 24 centigrade at the moment," added Kostecki.
SEB skipper Gunnar Krantz said the most important tactic at present was to stay in the Gulf Stream.
"It is boat speed sailing and not too many tactical options as you have to be in the Gulf Stream and stay there. Playing that lane is like sailing in a corridor. That limits passing lanes."
"We have between 3-4 knots of current. If we're doing 16 knots through the water, that's 25 percent more, so we have to be in the right place. And when the wind shifts you have to avoid falling outside the current. It is a tricky thing," added Krantz.
"It's like walking on a tight rope. It's very small margins how you play it," said Amer Sports One navigator Roger Nilson.
Tyco skipper Kevin Shoebridge says they have been fortunate that the Gulf Stream has been taking them directly towards the waypoint that marks the ice exclusion zone, but that they expect the effect of the current to lessen about 200 miles further down the course on Wednesday.
The outright sailing 24-hour record stands at 687.17 nautical miles at an average speed of 28.93 knots set by Steve Fossett's 38m (125ft) catamaran PlayStation in October.
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