Illbruck Sets 24-Hour Monohull World Speed Record

Illbruck Challenge goes into the record books after officially receiving ratification that they have set a new world record, for the greatest distance sailed in 24 hours by a Monohull. The record of 484 nautical miles was completed at 20:02 on April 30 during Leg 7 of the Volvo Ocean Race and was confirmed by the World Speed Sailing Record Council.

On arrival in La Rochelle, skipper John Kostecki praised his crew, and put the record win down to perfect conditions and great teamwork: "It’s an incredible feat which we’re all really proud of. It was 12 guys on the boat with a real team effort, and people on shore helping to maintain and fix the boat. The crew was fantastic and did a great job, pushing the boat hard and making efficient sail changes. They kept the boat going fast. The goal was to win leg 7, but it worked out perfectly with the right conditions to break the record."

The ideal conditions arose from 20-25 knots of wind and the added push of the Gulf Stream. As illbruck left Chesapeake Bay, the team immediately started to put miles on the competition. A slight course alteration seemed an advantageous decision, picking up stronger north-westerlies, while staying in the strong current. "The Gulf Stream gave us two or three knots of extra push. Our average speed was 20 knots over the ground, although at times we were a lot faster, to over 30 knots," said Kostecki.

Out in the Atlantic, the crew didn’t have much time to celebrate, however, and had to keep on racing: "We talked about it for a few minutes but couldn’t celebrate till last night after finishing Leg 7," joked Kostecki on arrival in La Rochelle. "It’s an incredible record to hold and I’m extremely happy and proud to be the skipper of this award-winning yacht. It’s great to have a sponsor like EDS involved with our sport and it’s fantastic they promote this record."

The average speed of 20.16 knots, with many periods reaching over 27 knots, caused no problems for the crew as they alternated three spinnakers on the fast reaches: "At 20 knots we had a lot of water on the boat," Kostecki continued. "When you are going that fast, the boats do get wet. Ninety percent of the time the boat is wet, although the crew are used to it. There were no breakdowns, technical problems, it all went smoothly. Going at 30 knots is quite impressive for a Volvo 60 and you know you’re going fast."

Illbruck’s victory in this transatlantic leg awards the team a further 8 points. Neal McDonald, skipper of ASSA ABLOY, who finished the leg second, said: "illbruck sailed the perfect race. They were smarter and they arequick in these conditions. We sailed well but they are a hard act to beat."

John Kostecki hopes so. With just two more smaller legs of the race remaining, he believes they’ll hold the record for some time: "You need ideal conditions like the Gulf Stream push to beat this record. "One of the new maxis being built, or 80ft sleds being built in California, or maybe one of the Open 60s actively racing could quite possibly break the record."

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