Oman Air solo round Britain record attempt
Sidney Gavignet, skipper of the Arabian 100 trimaran Oman Air, crossed the start line off the Lizard Point, Cornwall UK at 17:55:08 GMT today as he attempts to break the single-handed Round Britain and Ireland record. The record attempt forms part of his training for the single handed transatlantic Route du Rhum race later this year.
The current single-handed record for the 1,785 nautical mile lap of Britain and Ireland stands at 6 days 6 hours 40 minutes and 31 seconds, which was set by fellow Frenchman Thomas Coville on board his trimaran Sodebo in 2006. In order to beat his record, Gavignet needs to maintain an average boat speed of above 11.86 knots.
The record route will see the French former Volvo Ocean Race sailor head anti-clockwise around Britain and Ireland finishing once again at Lizard Point. The weather team are currently predicting a slow start to the attempt, with light westerly winds, however the breeze is set to build from the south-west to provide 20–25 knot reaching conditions on the first night.
“My main aim before the Route du Rhum is to focus on sailing single handed. I don’t need to practice boat speed, as I am confident that I can get the best out of the boat, but I need to practice sailing single-handed as it is a very different discipline from crewed racing. This record is not only a great challenge but being such a coastal route, it will give me some crucial navigational experience onboard and provide a real challenge for me mentally and physically, with the overall aim to push myself,” says Gavignet.
Oman Air arrived in the French port of Lorient in July, after a delivery from her home port of Muscat in Oman. The team have been busy preparing for the up coming record attempt and training period ahead of the Route Du Rhum. It has been non –stop for the Omani team following the announcement of a title sponsor in the form of the national airline of the Sutanate, Oman Air. A complete re-brand of the trimaran followed, as well as switching the boat from her fully crewed setup to single handed racing.
The Round Britain and Ireland record attempt has seen a complete change in the setup onboard Oman Air, skipper Gavignet has managed to save almost 500 kg by removing unnecessary items such as computer screens, the generator and the galley.
Newly designed 3DL sails have arrived and been fitted, whilst Sidney and the team have been waiting on standby for the record attempt. Sidney commented ahead of the attempt, “The boat has a new sponsor and we are setup and ready to go. I have wanted to take on this record for some time and with the Route Du Rhum fast approaching my departure dates are limited. I have been working closely with the weather routers and the forecasts look good so it has to be now! I hope the weather conditions give me a good chance me to beat Thomas Coville’s record, which he set almost exactly four years ago. The coast of Britain is roughly half the length of the Route du Rhum, and it is a difficult coast to navigate. I am sure this is going to be a huge challenge with little time for sleep”.
Existing record: Around Britain and Ireland (Non stop singlehanded)
Skipper: Thomas Coville (FRA)
Time: 6 d, 6h, 40m, 31 s