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Transatlantic Race 2015 - Day 15

by Jan Harley 13 Jul 2015 21:05 BST 13 July 2015
Phaedo3 finishes the Transatlantic Race 2015 © Rachel Jaspersen

The fast and the furious reach the Lizard

A giant runway of strong southwesterly wind spanning the breadth of the North Atlantic for the last few days has allowed the grand prix boats competing in the Transatlantic Race 2015 to cover staggering mileage.

While Jim Clark and Kristy Hinze-Clark's 100' maxi Comanche set a new monohull 24-hour record when she covered 618.01 miles over Friday-Saturday (subject to ratification by the World Sailing Speed Record Council), Lloyd Thornburg's MOD70 trimaran Phaedo" also put in a resounding performance.

Towards the end of the race Phaedo3, at one point, recorded a peak speed of 41.2 knots when navigator Miles Seddon was driving. As Thornburg recounted: "The sea opened up before him. It was the biggest wave you have ever seen and we were pointing down it!" But it was the consistently big daily runs that were most impressive – four days at 610 miles/day and this was despite a generally short wavelength that required them to stack everything hard aft and have appendages and rig raked back to the maximum setting.

While Thornburg competed in the Transatlantic Race 2011 on board his Gunboat 66 catamaran, his crossing this time in the MOD70 was an entirely different experience. "It was intense, like a time warp - it felt like four weeks at sea on any other boat all compressed into seven days. It is incredible; the boat is pure Formula 1," he enthused of his team's first race across the Atlantic with their latest yacht. "One of the hardest things was trying to live on board, which is a challenge psychologically and physically, day after day of slamming into waves, and with all the acceleration and the deceleration."

As testament to what a phenomenal boat the MOD70 trimaran is, according to skipper Brian Thompson, they broke nothing on the crossing despite the furious pace.

Including a day and a half being becalmed, Phaedo3's crossing time of 7 days 2 hours and 4 minutes is not exceptional, but nonetheless established a new multihull race record, substantially faster than the previous Phaedo's time of 12 days 15 hours 42 minutes and 58 seconds set in 2011.

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