RIDING TO A RECORD
Set a new race record when the crew covered 602 miles through the north atlantic in 24 hours. navigator jules salter tells how they did it
Ten years ago, in the stormy South Atlantic en route to Cape Town from Alicante, the VO70 Ericsson 4 hitched a breakneck ride on a fast-moving low pressure system to set a 24-hour record distance for the round the world race.
On that opening leg of the 2008-09 Volvo Ocean Race the Ericsson 4 crew, led by Brazilian skipper Torben Grael and guided by British navigator Jules Salter, touched speeds of 30-plus knots and clocked up 593.23 miles – tantalizingly close to the 600-mile threshold – before being forced to slow after a rudder strike threatened to sink the boat.
Ericsson 4’s record remained intact during the next edition. Then when the smaller and ostensibly slower VO65 class was introduced for 2015, many believed that remarkable run was unlikely to ever be bettered.
Fast-forward to May 2018. This time in the North Atlantic, on Leg 9 from Newport to Cardiff, as a nine-strong crew on the Akzonobel VO65 put in a rampaging 24-hour run that shattered the Ericsson 4 record and established a new benchmark distance of 602.51 miles.
The man at the nav station on board the Dutch-flagged boat this year was once again Jules Salter. How did it feel to break his own record after ten years?
“It’s not a very nice feeling when someone breaks your record. So it’s pleasing to get the chance to be the one doing it. This transatlantic leg is a real favourite of mine as it’s one of the oldest sea routes in the world and generally you know you are in for some fast sailing. There was quite a lot of anticipation and I knew everyone on board was really up for it.”