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Bermuda-Plymouth Atlantic Sailing Crossing World Record Broken!

by Sam Heggie 21 May 11:19 BST
Stoke Mandeville Spinal Research Chairman, Richard Tolkien, and his three-man crew including Bronwen Maddox, Frank Sturm and David Herrod © Sam Heggie

Stoke Mandeville Spinal Research Chairman, Richard Tolkien, and his three-man crew including Bronwen Maddox, Frank Sturm and David Herrod, have officially broken the world monohull record for sailing across the Atlantic from Bermuda to Plymouth in the Open 60 sailing boat, Rosalba.

Battling very strong high winds and a high sea during the early days, and high pressure and light winds approaching Europe, the determined crew sailed around 3,200 miles through the water at an average speed of over 11 knots.

Rosalba took the start line from Bermuda on the 24th April and finished late on 6th May, avoiding a cross channel ferry as they passed the breakwater finish line.

The World Sailing Speed Record Council, on the 13th May, issued the following statement:

  • Record: Bermuda to Plymouth Monohull
  • Yacht: Rosalba. 60ft Monohull
  • Name: Richard Tolkien. GBR. and a crew of 3
  • Dates:.24th April 2022 to the 6th May 2022
  • Start time: 17;54;56 UTC on 24/04/22
  • Finish time: 21;07;05 UTC on 06/05/22
  • Elapsed time: 12 days 3 hours 12 minutes and 9 seconds
  • Course length: 2870 NM
  • Average speed: 9.86 kts

Their time of 12 days, three hours, and 13 minutes, breaks the previous monohull record of 13 days, five hours and 19 minutes held by Mikhael Ryking from Sweden and his Russian co-skipper Irina Gracheva, on Talanta, in June 2017.

Commenting on their world-record breaking achievement, Richard said: "It was a poignant trip in many ways. The light blue disc on Rosalba's sail spells out Stoke Mandeville Spinal Research, a cause close to my heart, the charity I support as Chairman of Trustees, and in honour of my late brother David, who was paralysed in a car accident and a patient at the National Spinal Injuries Centre at Stoke Mandeville."

He added: "We hope that the voyage and the breaking of the record will help promote awareness of the important work funded by Stoke Mandeville Spinal Research to improve the quality of life for spinal cord injured people."

To read the full blog account (including the highs and lows) from crew member Bronwen Maddox, visit:

To find out more about the work of Stoke Mandeville Spinal Research in funding much needed research to support those living with spinal cord injury, and its associated health complications, please visit

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