Published: Thursday, 21 August 2014

Swish, skippered by Canadian Roderick Knowles, crossed the finish line of the 2014 Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race off the Royal Yacht Squadron, Cowes at 04.06.49 BST on Wednesday 20th August with an elapsed time of 8 days, 19 hours, 6 minutes and 49 seconds. Subject to ratification by the World Speed Sailing Record Council, this breaks the previous World Record for Monohulls 40 feet and less, set by Concise 2 in 2010, by over 18 hours.

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This will be the fifth World Record broken during the 2014 Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club.

"I have a very small number of miles compared to the crew, so for me it was an enormous learning experience,” says Knowles. “Nick (Legatt) as navigator, was excellent and I have learnt so much from his seamanship. But when it comes down to it, it was just four blokes the youngest is 40. So we didn't argue about anything or take anything personally. The atmosphere was very relaxed on board and I didn't hear an ill-word all trip. It is incredible and really cool that we beat the world record by over 18 hours, I have never held a world record before."

Swish's South African navigator, Nick Legatt, has broken a world record on the course before as part of Steve Fossett's Playstation crew in 2002. Legatt has sailed round the world three times and crossed the Atlantic 34 times.

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"I have raced across the Atlantic at various latitudes and they all pose different challenges,” says Legatt. “This race is far more intense in terms of weather, we had three different weather systems to contend with. Also the effects of the land are very significant in this race, which you don't get crossing an ocean. We did have some communication issues on Swish, which meant we had no weather data once we left and we used the barometer and our eyes to decide on what was coming next. There were many discussions on board about cloud shapes and air temperature, so it was really a bit old school. This is a very unique race, it is a pity the RORC only run it every four years."

The Custom JV52, Haspa Hamburg, finished the race to claim second in IRC Zero. Skipper Katrin Hilbert was full of praise for the young crew, all members of the German yacht club, Hamburgischer Verein Seefahrt.

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“The average age is 25 and we have two crew who are 19 years of age,” says Hilbert. “I am so proud of them, even when we had some really bad weather and when we had some problems on board, we held together as a team and supported each other. We will be celebrating tonight with some good food and a few beers and then we will sail back to Germany in the morning to continue racing in the Baltic for the rest of the summer. Many thanks to the RORC for organising a fantastic race and making us feel so welcome, we will definitely be returning."

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JV 53 Bank von Bremen is expected to be the 12th yacht to finish, claiming third place in IRC Zero. In IRC One Hanse 53 Saga was still 390 miles from the finish on Wednesday morning.

In IRC Two the battle rages on between J/122 Relentless on Jellyfish and J/111 British Soldier.

First 36.7 Lulu Belle, Figaro II Rare and Figaro II Dessert D’Alcyone are all determined to finish the race.


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