Full speed ahead

Text by Jonno Turner
The unsung heroes
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Full speed ahead Text by Jonno Turner
It's an age old question: how do you possibly follow the Volvo Ocean Race?

A nine-month, 39,000 nautical mile marathon around the planet, the toughest ocean adventure on earth - let's face, it, it takes some beating.

That's why many sailors simply embrace family life, work on shore for a while, or even go into hibernation between races.

But, here's another way to follow it: do it again, but even faster.

Yep, you read that right. And that's the bold approach taken by four Volvo Ocean Race veterans.

They might have already rounded the globe once this year, crossing four oceans and five continents, but it seems that once you've caught the Volvo Ocean Race speed bug, it's difficult to shake off.

You remember these guys, right? Dongfeng Race Team's Thomas Rouxel, Yann Riou and Erwen Israel, and Team Alvimedica's Seb Marsett.

Well, they're currently racing around the world - again - onboard maxi-trimaran Spindrift 2, as part of the Transat Jacques Vabre fleet.

The aim? To get around the world - fast. In fact, faster than anyone has ever done before.

And when speed is the goal, every single hour, every minute, every second counts.

It's called the Jules Verne Trophy, and was originally awarded to the first boat to circumnavigate the planet in less than 80 days. 

Devised by Volvo Ocean Race legend Sir Peter Blake, alongside other famous sailors such as Florence Arthaud and Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the rules have been set since 1990.

The current record stands at 45 days, 13 hours, 42 minutes and 53 seconds, and was secured by Banque Populaire, skippered by French sailor Loic Peyron back in January 2012.

And, having set off from a start line between Ushant Island, France and Lizard Point, England on November 22, 2015, they're already making a pretty good go of beating that best ever score.

They set a new record to the Equator, shaving nearly a full day off the previous time. And their average speed so far has been a huge 27 knots.

You could almost say they've made light work of the Atlantic, diving south in record time, and less than two weeks into their trip, the boat has already rounded the Cape of Good Hope.

"Yesterday, we covered almost 1,500 kilometres in 24 hours," said skipper Yann Guichard. "It was quite wild, but tonight, it’s calmed down a bit. We’re still descending in latitude in order to look for another weather system.”

Can they grab a new record? Either way, it seems that, for some, the best way to recover from the Volvo Ocean Race, is to continue the ride. 

Make sure you're following the Volvo Ocean Race's social media channels in order to track the progress of the sailors as they bid to make history!

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