44 knots

From on board Adrienne Cahalan reports on Maiden II's 24 hour record attempt

Thursday June 13th 2002, Author: Adrienne Cahalan, Location: Transoceanic
"So far, the highest speed seen on deck, on the GPS SOG was 44 knots, when we blew a window out in the port hull !" Maiden II navigator, Adrienne Cahalan pronounced at 14:27 GMT today. Maiden II is currently out in the Atlantic bound for Europe and gunning to break Steve Fossett's outright 24 hour world record.

Adrienne Cahalan provided these updates from on board:

After 1 hour

"We started our record by the official position report at 1858z which put us in a position of 38 41.64N 68 14.28W. It is good conditions, clear sky, warm, and good wind of 25-30kts. We just hit 41.5 on the GPS which I witnessed myself and could hardly believe!. We all caught up on some sleep down from Newport and actually arrived in good time. We arrived to the start point at 12z and sat around for several (7) hours waiting for the wind to fill in. We are on starboard gybe sailing at about 130 true wind angle.

The port hull is stripped and closed up. The wind is steadily increasing so the trimmers on deck have to be very careful because the helmsman (currently Brian) is always sailing the boat on the edge. At the same time I monitor that we are keeping the straightest course possible in order to sail the shortest distance in a straight line at the highest speed. By the way we have an unofficial first hour of 33.8kts!"

After 4 hours

"At the end of hour number four we had covered unofficially 131nm at course 105degT. This is an average of 32.75kts. We are working hard to put miles in the bank because sea conditions are getting a little more difficult as the wind increases and soon it will be dark for around eight hours and harder for the drivers to see the waves. We have five drivers who are rotated around about every hour and the trimmers are working within their normal watches of four hours on deck.

However we are only sailing with 13 people so everyone really plans to stay up for the 24-36hours it will take to attempt the record. At the moment I have not yet been on deck as the time goes very quickly here calculating figures, monitoring the courses and averages and working with our onshore forecasters at Commander's Weather.

We have reached now a top speed of 44 knots on the GPS over the ground (reported by on deck crew) which is certainly something. Conditions remain TWS 26kts TWD 240T, sun setting, warm and very wet (not in the 'nav' station though). You have to be very careful on deck and below because you can get slingshot along the corridors or though the cockpit because the boat is moving so fast and wildly."

After 10 hours

"Things have got quite tough overnight. The seaway has become difficult and without any moon, the drivers have been working hard. In the last few hours we have slowed down. Whilst we were able to maintain a 33kt average in the early hours, after 10 hours we have sailed 314nm at 109true giving an unofficial average of 31.4kts. With only a few more hours of darkness we are hoping that the remaining 12 hours in the daylight will be much easier. We are still in 26kts of TWS from direction true 240. Seas are 6-8 feet.

Some of the crew are catching some sleep but everyone is holding on- there are a few sore heads after one recent nose dive. In a nose dive everything goes flying forward so you have to be particularly careful walking up the corridors in the hulls and in front of bulkheads. We are confident that the wind will hold but it is the seaway that is the key as to whether we can maintain an average above 28.6 knots to break the record."

After 18 Hours

"We have about 6.25 hours to go and 180nm to sail to beat the record. It will be tough going. I spoke too soon when I thought the wind would stay. This morning the wind dropped out to 14kts in a bad direction almost north of west. We shook the first reef out and we are now sailing under full main and headsail. The wind has increased slightly to 18-20 knots which gives us a chance to maintain the 30kt average we need to finish the record at our finish point of 19UTC this afternoon. We are flying a hull trying our hardest to beat this record. So far, the highest speed seen on deck, on the GPS SOG (speed over ground) was 44 knots, when we blew a window out in the port hull!"

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