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The world's fastest crew !

A jubilant crew aboard Tracy Edwards's Maiden 2, the former Club Med, arrived in Southampton yesterday after breaking the 24-hour record on a transatlantic delivery from Newport. Although the run is still subject to ratification, it looks as if the mixed crew have set a new world record of 697 miles, and the 13-strong team of seven men and six women were revelling in their new status as 'the world's fastest crew'.

This beats the previous record set last year by Steve Fossett's PlayStation of 687 miles. The crew, co-skippered by Helena Darvelid and Brian Thompson, both of whom have previously sailed on Fossett's Lakota and PlayStation, managed to average 28.6 knots despite occasionally unpromising conditions. At one point they even touched a terrifying SOG of 44 knots - before burying the bows and kicking up a wall of water that smashed through the window of the leeward cuddy.
Maiden 2's crew were lucky enough to get near ideal conditions straight out of Newport and took off on their record run almost as soon as they sheeted on. They had more scope to pick the fastest direction than PlayStation had last year because they weren't aiming for a transatlantic record, whereas PlayStation's crew had to stick close to the Great Circle Route.

But things didn't go all Maiden 2's way. During the night as they made the edge of the Gulf Stream they encountered a bad seaway and one-and-a-half knots of counter current and had to ease off. The next morning the wind dropped to 14-15 knots and the crew were sure the record was slipping away. Then in the final hours the wind picked up again and the crew wrung out every knot, flying a hull most of the time and rarely dropping below 36 knots.

Their run falls tantalisingly short of the magical 700-mile day, a barrier that is certain to fall sometime soon, and the crew are keen to have another crack at it.
 


26/6/2002

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