Renaud Laplanche, co-skipper Ryan Breymaier and the crew of the 105’ trimaran Lending Club 2 have established a new world sailing speed record for the 635-nautical mile course from Castle Hill Lighthouse, in Newport, Rhode Island, to Kitchen Shoal Beacon in Bermuda. The new record, subject to ratification by the World Sailing Speed Record Council (WSSRC), is 23 hours, 9 minutes, 52 seconds at an average speed of 27 knots. It was only four days ago that the WSSRC ratified Lending Club 2’s record-setting passage of early April from Cowes to Dinard (across the English Channel) to confirm their place in the sailing record books; Guinness World Records has also confirmed that they will include the record. That 138-nautical mile passage, at an average speed of 26.36 knots, was completed in 5 hours and 15 minutes – 8 minutes faster than the previous record which had stood since 2002. We ran five question by Ryan about this latest triumph…
SA: What was the biggest challenge in this record run?
RB: The biggest challenge was finding the right time to take the start and we were pretty worried about having light air leaving Newport. We were concerned about whether we could trust the forecast or whether we’d get stuck drifting in no breeze just off the coast. Fortunately the conditions were as advertised in that it was light until five or six miles offshore and then from there we found the breeze we were looking for. We managed to cover the first miles in about 45 minutes before picking up speed and getting the boat properly on its way.
SA: What did you learn about the boat?
RB: We learned that the boat really needs flat water. This was reinforced more than ever during the Cowes to Dinard record. We didn’t take enough heed to the advice of looking for flat water and we set off in reasonably big waves but thankfully we got the record anyway. This time we spent a lot more time looking for the right wave conditions and sailed in very flat water, except for the Gulf Stream. It made a huge difference and in the same breeze and same wind angle we found ourselves with 3 or 4 more knots more boat speed. This bodes well for the Transpac.
SA: What there an OMG moment.
RB: I think Renaud will agree that the OMG moment was when he realized he was driving the boat at 40+ knots. He always knew the boat was fast and he’s a good driver but when he got it really lit up he had a huge smile on his face. Anyone driving a boat this big and powerful is quickly having a serious OMG moment.
SA: How much did you drive?
RB: In 23 hours I probably drove 4.5/5 hours. We have a crew who can all drive and so everyone does drive. We’re only 7 sailors so its important to be polyvalent and it promotes equality, we all do everything and we all get to have a piece of the fun. I think this is the best way to be and it works very well onboard.
SA: What is the most difficult aspect of the new boat?
RB: There are two things that are really difficult with this boat. The first is getting it on and off the dock! We’re getting used to it now but luckily our shore team are all really good RIB drivers and we had to quickly get well coordinated to keep things under control, even in light air. The second thing that is just life onboard other than sailing. The boat shakes so much you can hardly keep your balance and with the speed you have to be constantly bracing yourself, it makes going for a piss a fun experience. Quin our media guy has had to get special housing for his gear after taking a serious hosing the first time he came sailing, said it was like trying to shoot in a steam bath.
Its an amazing experience being let loose with a machine like this and we’re really looking forward to hitting more top speeds on the west coast in a month or so. Before we go we’ve got a couple more weeks in Newport, our team has an open house ethic so anyone who wants to come and check out the boat is more than welcome. We’re leaving Bermuda in an hour, so we should be there by lunch on Wednesday 🙂
Otherwise, see you in San Francisco!