Four record-breaking young British sailors were welcomed to their home port of Southampton yesterday, a week after setting a new Length of Britain record of 2 days, 14 hours and 6 minutes – over 21 hours faster than the previous word record.
The Vendee2020Vision team were welcomed home with a glass of Rock Rose Gin, from the most northerly tip of Scotland, to mark their incredible achievement.
Daniel Steel, Chief Executive of Sail Scotland, who organised the challenge said: "We were delighted to crown the Vendee2020Vision team as the new Length of Britain Record holders. They showed incredible skill and endurance, not only taking on the weather and tidal conditions but undertaking essential repairs to the boat during the sail to allow them to complete our iconic challenge to the north coast of Scotland in record time."
The trip saw the team take on every kind of condition you could expect, from over 40 knots and a confused sea state to battling against the clock with no wind as they passed Dunnet Head, the most northerly point on mainland Britain and home to Rock Rose Gin, to cross the virtual finish line.
On return to Southampton, Skipper Mikey Ferguson said,“To be honest it was a relief to get over the line last week. I have sailed around the UK three times but this passage has been the hardest to date. To secure the record is fantastic, but this is also about building towards our ultimate goal to have a young British sailor on the start line for the Vendée Globe in 2020. We have all gained a lot of great experience and we are looking forward to a gin tonight as we reflect on the achievement”.
The clock started on the team’s challenge back on 22nd September, when official timing partner Kennett Timepieces started their challenge on the southern tip of England. They got off to a great start, but faced a technical issue on day two after the mainsail car bungy broke and the vertical wand which supplies the instruments with wind data was damaged. The crew pulled into open water in Belfast Loch so they could continue sailing and complete repairs without having to stop the record attempt. The wind instruments proved hard to repair at sea and the crew had to continue with limited and at times no wind data as they made the final approach to the north-west tip of Scotland. Sixty miles from the finish off John O’Groats the wind dropped to under three knots as they faced an agonising final sail to the finish line. Crossing the line just after six in the morning, the team slashed 21 hours and 44 minutes off the previous record held by British Sailor Phil Sharp.
Martin Murray, Founder of Length of Britain Challenge Sponsors’ Rock Rose Gin said: “We are delighted to welcome this talented young team home with a thoroughly deserved gin to mark their fantastic achievement. It is great to see a new record holder and we look forward to seeing more taking on the challenge in the future!"
Tom Kennett, Managing Director of official timing partners’ Kennett Timepieces, said: “To not only have broken the record, but to have smashed it by over 21 hours is quite incredible! The young crew has done an amazing job. We were watching closely to see if we had to stop the watch on day two, but they did amazingly well to undertake the repairs and keep moving. Well done!”
View the images and videos from the trip here: