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

Yachting World - - Front Page -

Justin chisholm

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.”

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