Yacht breaks 20-year-old Round Ireland sailing record
Musandam - Oman Sail circumnavigated the island in just over 40 hours
Musandam-Oman Sail, which is the flagship of the Sultanate of Oman, completed the circumnavigation in 40 hours 51 minutes and 57 seconds, reaching reported speeds of 38 knots off the west coast.
The time, which is subject to verification by the World Sailing Speed Record Council (WSSRC), looks to be almost four hours under the record set by the late US businessman Steve Fossett in 1993, in his 18m (60ft) trimaran Lakota in September, 1993.
Fossett’s multihull had taken 44 hours, 42 minutes and 20 seconds, and on board with him were Irish sailors Cathy McAleavey and Con Murphy – parents of Irish Olympic sailor Annalise Murphy.
This new attempt is not Gavignet’s first, with weather preventing his last plan two years ago. He holds the current Round Britain and Ireland record, set last August.
His six-man crew included Omani sailors Fahad Al Hasni, Yasser Al Rahbi and Sami Al Shukaili, who were members of the 2014 two-island circumnavigation.
Also on board the trimaran, which set off from Dun Laoghaire on Monday evening, were Spanish sailor Alex Pella and French multihull veteran Jean Baptiste Levailland.
Helmsman Fahad Al Hasni said it was “both scary and exciting because we saw 40 knots of wind and massive waves that we reckoned were around six metres ... but the main challenge was the cold”.
“It is still winter here and my hands were so cold I still can’t feel them but I’m really happy because there have been some very famous sailors who have made attempts on this record, but we are the ones who now hold it,” he added.
Oman Sail chief executive David Graham said it was a “great accomplishment”.
The 50 per cent Omani crew showed that the “ present and the future of sailing in Oman is on the right course”, he said.
Oman Sail is a national initiative established in 2008, with a pledge to teach 70,000 Omani children to sail by 2020.
The World Sailing Speed Record Council (WSSR) will take several weeks to confirm if a new record has been set.
The WSSR was established in 1972 to provide independent ratification of sailing records set all over the world, and it has ratified a number of records set for circumnavigating Ireland by sail under different categories.
These include two records set in 2005 – by the Cityjet/Irish Times monohull, skippered by French sailor Jean-Philippe Chomette and crew in two and one-third days, and Belgian sailor Michel Kleinjans’s single-handed circumnavigation in Roaring Forty in four days,one hour, 53 minutes and 29 seconds.