© Yann Riou | polaRYSE / Holcim - PRB / The Ocean Race

© Yann Riou | polaRYSE / Holcim - PRB / The Ocean Race

The Ocean Race: Team Holcim-PRB blows past records

Sport

26/05/2023 - 09:26
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This story was written at 2300 UTC on 26 May - it will be updated with the latest figures on Friday morning. 

Skipper Kevin Escoffier and his Team Holcim-PRB have shattered existing 24 hour distance records in the monohull class. 

First to fall was The Ocean Race record of 602 nautical miles, set in the last race by Simeon Tienpont's Team AkzoNobel. 

A few hours later and the outright monohull record, 618 nautical miles, set by the 100 footer Comanche in 2015, had been eclipsed. 

As at 2300 UTC on Thursday night, Team Holcim-PRB was at over 630 nautical miles and still adding to its total.

Conditions have been near perfect for making a record run - downwind reaching, in 25-27 knots of wind, with a relatively flat sea state. 

In fact, Escoffier predicted this result earlier in the day: "Yesterday, we caught up with a weather front. We passed in front of it and now we are following it on starboard tack, which gives us high speeds... The sea is flat which is rather pleasant... If it goes on like this, we will break the 24-hour record again."

Team Holcim-PRB hasn't been alone on this record-breaking mission. In fact, the first into the favourable conditions was 11th Hour Racing Team who were also the first to push past the existing race record.

But they topped out their run at 611 nautical miles, all the more remarkable considering the team reported a collision with what the crew "suspect(s) to be a marine mammal or megafauna..."

The boat came to a sudden stop and according to the team, trimmer Charlie Dalin suffered a suspected mild concussion, and media crew member Amory Ross injured his shoulder. After consultation with the on shore race doctor, who has prescribed rest and monitoring, the team is continuing to race towards Aarhus. The boat does not appear to be damaged and remains at the front of the fleet.

Nearly 80 miles back, Team Malizia were the last of the leading trio to enter the 'record run' conditions and the team is starting to post impressive stats. As at 2300 UTC, skipper Boris Herrmann and his crew were near the 610 mile mark and still climbing. 

The Ocean Race 2022-23 - 26 May 2023, Leg 5 Day 4 onboard Team Holcim - PRB, at full speed during the 24 hours record.
© Yann Riou | polaRYSE / Holcim - PRB / The Ocean Race

Team Holcim-PRB blows past distance records

Escoffier commented on their success: "It’s a great boat and I’m really pleased! It’s not every day you break a record like this.

"I’m really happy for the whole team after what happened on the fourth leg (the team retired after dismasting). We don’t know what’s going to happen next, even if we’re going to do everything we can to win this leg. In any case, I think it’s a great reward for the whole team."

The run has brought the team within just a few miles of 11th Hour Racing Team who continue to lead the leg.

Interestingly, Escoffier had predicted this result earlier in the day: "Yesterday, we caught up with a weather front. We passed in front of it and now we are following it on starboard tack, which gives us high speeds... The sea is flat which is rather pleasant... If it goes on like this, we will break the 24-hour record again."

The previous race record holder, Simeon Tienpont, was effusive in his admiration for the new achievement. 

"Big congratulations to the Holcim-PRB crew," he said. "When I woke up this morning it brought a big smile to my face... For me personally it’s great to see these boats crushing the race record but also the 24-hour record by beating a 100-foot maxi yacht. That is just insane!! I think It’s really good for the sport; it shows what we are capable of these days, with all the foiling techniques and innovations.

"It must be unbelievably exciting for those guys - I think this is a record that will be hard to break.”

Team Holcim-PRB hasn't been alone on this record-breaking mission. In fact, the first into the favourable conditions was 11th Hour Racing Team who were also the first to push past the existing race record.

But they topped out their run at 611.9 nautical miles, all the more remarkable considering the team reported a collision with what the crew "suspect(s) to be a marine mammal or megafauna..."

The boat came to a sudden stop and according to the team, trimmer Charlie Dalin suffered a suspected mild concussion, and media crew member Amory Ross injured his shoulder. After consultation with the on-shore race doctor, who has prescribed rest and monitoring, the team is continuing to race towards Aarhus. The boat does not appear to be damaged and remains at the front of the fleet.

Now 70 miles back, Team Malizia was the last of the leading trio to enter the 'record run' conditions and the team is starting to post impressive stats. As at 1000 UTC on Friday, skipper Boris Herrmann and his crew were near the 625 mile mark and still showing potential for more. 

Further back, Paul Meilhat's Biotherm crew is still battling different conditions to the leading trio, and although their boatspeed is rising, they are now nearly 400 miles behind. 

The ETA for the finish in Aarhus has moved forward with the record-breaking conditions to 29 May.

Note all records mentioned in this story will need to be ratified by the World Sailing Speed Record Council.

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