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Maiden II Breaks 24-hour Sailing Record


Maiden II

Thursday 13 June, 20:00 UTC. Tracy Edwards’ 110 ft maxi-catamaran, Maiden II has successfully broken the current 24 hour distance record that is currently held by Steve Fosset onboard PlayStation, with a run of 697nm to be ratified by the World Speed Sailing Record Council tomorrow morning.

The 13-man crew set sail from Newport to a point South-South East that had been identified by navigator Adrienne Cahalan, at 1914 UTC yesterday, Wednesday 12 June. 24 hours later, Maiden II has become the fastest ocean going yacht in the world. With speeds clocked at 44 knots and an unofficial average speed of 29 knots, the crew of Maiden II has worked extremely hard over the last 36 hours pushing the boat to its limit.

Sailing Director Tracy Edwards was thrilled with the result: “I cannot describe how I feel! This confirms my belief that this is exactly the right boat to do the job and confirms my obvious belief in the crew. They are have worked so hard and are now exhausted having been up for 36 hours with only five drivers, five people down and some crew that had never sailed the boat before. It is an incredible achievement.”

Edwards and her crew await the ratification from the World Speed Sailing Records Council tomorrow morning, to claim the EDS 24 Hour Multihull World Speed Record Trophy, making Maiden II the fastest yacht in the world.

Crew reports from Adrienne Cahalan

Wednesday, June 12, 2002, at around midday UTC, Maiden II will attempt to break the 24-hour distance record of 687.17 nautical miles that is currently held by Steve Fossett on board Playstation. The 110 ft maxi-catamaran will depart Newport, to sail approximately 250 nautical miles South-South East to a point that has been identified by navigator Adrienne Cahalan as the possible starting point for the record. There the team hopes to pick up a weather system that will help them maintain an average speed in excess of the 28.63 knot target speed for 24 hours.

13:16 GMT, June 12, 2002
Maiden II Navigator Adrienne Cahalan reports, "We are at the start place waiting for the wind to build, which may take between one and four hours from now".

June 12, 2002, First crew report
"We have started a run in position 38 41.69N 68 13.47W. We are sailing with one reef and genoa. True Wind Speed is 25-30kts from direction 240 True. Our current speed over the ground is 30-32kts on an average course of 100T. The time of start was 1500 local". Adrienne Cahalan

June 13 2002, Second crew report
At the end of hour number 4 we had covered unofficially 131nm at course 105T, 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 8 hours and harder for the drivers to see the waves.

We have 5 drivers who are rotating around about every hour and the trimmers are working within their normal watches of 4 hours on deck. However, we are only sailing with 13 people so everyone really plans to stay up for the 24-36 hours 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 Commanders. We have reached now a top speed of 44kts 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 through the cockpit because the boat is moving so fast and wildly.

June 13 2002, Third crew report
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 109 true giving an unoffcial avergae 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 fling 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 28.6kts to break the record.

June 13 2002, Fourth crew report
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 incresed 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.

The current record is held by Steve Fossett’s PlayStation at 687.17 nautical miles, a staggering distance which will take a lot of skill as well as luck with the weather to beat. However, the Maiden II team are determined and focused on doing their best, and conditions allowing, feel they have a fast enough boat to do it in.

Sailing Director Tracy Edwards is under no illusion that the record will be easy to beat. "Steve Fossett has set a tough target and effectively become the fastest yacht in the world. In addition to having the perfect wind angle and strength, you need to have a relatively flat sea. If we get these conditions, then we have the crew that can take advantage of them and break the record. Since we put the campaign together, the team has come within a few hours of breaking the transatlantic record and has set a tough new record time for the Antigua to Newport run. If we were to break the 24 hour run, that would put us ahead of our expectations for this stage of the programme."

The Maiden Two project has been put together by the legendary yachtswoman Tracy Edwards. It is an international team of the top women and men sailors.

Tracy is one of Britain's greatest sporting heroines who has unrivaled experience of leading record-breaking all-female sailing campaigns. She originally captured the hearts of the nation in 1989 when she skippered Maiden, the first boat crewed entirely by women to take part in the prestigious Whitbread Round-the-World Yacht Race. Against all expectations, Maiden not only completed the course, but won two legs during the race and finished in second place overall. It was a feat no one - especially the male dominated sailing world - had believed was possible, and her remarkable achievement won her the 1990 Sports Woman of the Year Award and an MBE.

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