Safran setting off on the Round Britain and Ireland record
Marc Guillemot’s crew, including Pascal Bidégorry and Karine Fauconnier set off from the pontoon in La Trinité-sur-Mer in Southern Brittany aboard Safran this afternoon (Tuesday) to head for the Lizard to attempt to improve on the boat’s own Round Britain and Ireland record. She will have to sail all the way around covering 1773 theoretical miles in less than 6 days and 9 hours.
“In spite of the weather not looking as favourable as it did yesterday, I have nevertheless decided to set sail. We’ll be off the Lizard Point tomorrow morning to set off around six or seven,” commented Marc Guillemot. “These crewed attempts are the best way to make progress on the boat in my preparations for the Vendée Globe, as we can identify things that you don’t necessarily see when sailing solo, in particular, because when with a crew, we push the boat to get the full potential out of her,” he added.
No easy matter
There were six of them stepping abord Safran from the quay in La Trinité-sur-Mer this afternoon. So a crew with an additional sailor to what was initially planned. “During the long downwind stretches, with six of us, we will not get as tired as with five, when looking after the spinnaker,” explained Marc Guillemot. That is why for this record, alongside Marc, we find Pascal Bidégorry, Karine Fauconnier, César Dohy, Alex Marmorat and Ludovic Aglaor.
They will be attempting to improve on Safran’s own record that was set exactly a year ago, with a time of 6 days, 9 hours, 48 minutes and 50 seconds. On that occasion, fighting a duel with PRB, Safran completed the Round Britain and Ireland voyage at an average speed of 11.52 knots on the Great Circle Route (the theoretical route, which is 1773 miles long), but on the water, they actually sailed more than 2000 miles at an average speed of 13 knots.
So this time they are hoping to do better, which is no easy matter. Why? Because “the low that is located over the British Isles that I have been watching for several days has been filling and moved slightly to the east, which means there will probably be a calm zone west of Ireland,” explained the skipper of Safran. The crew will therefore be facing another challenge, as they will have to deal with this unpredictable weather system, as they sail as quickly as they can covering the shortest distance possible in a counter-clockwise direction, (starting therefore by rounding Britain via the east). “If we make it back to the Lizard in five and a half days, I’ll be pleased,” commented Marc Guillemot, as he cast off aboard the grey and orange monohull.