VO70 Monster Project sets new record at Mount Gay Round Barbados Race

The Mount Gay team aboard the British VO70 Monster Project set a new absolute record in yesterday’s Mount Gay Barbados Race with a time of 4 hours 42 minutes 28 seconds, knocking 21 minutes off the previous record established in 2012 by Idea – Reichel Pugh 78 (John Wilson, UK). Idea, however, broke the CSA record for corrected time.

Monster Project, with Loic Blanken on the helm, and Fabrice Cornic on tactics, sailed a smart, mistake-free race and, in ideal conditions the team was able to enjoy a spectacular sail round Barbados. Formerly Kosatka the Russian entry for 2009 Volvo Ocean Race, Monster Project is Mount Gay’s charter boat for this event, and it is hoped she’ll be back to defend her title next year.

Mount Gay Monster Project sets new outright record at Mount Gay Round Barbados Race; Courtesy -  Peter Marshall

Mount Gay Monster Project sets new outright record at Mount Gay Round Barbados Race; Courtesy - Peter Marshall

As Monster Project sailed into port, Andy Budgen, owner and crew boss said he was absolutely delighted with the team’s performance and says one of the best things about their achievement is the prize. “We are very pleased and to be honest it is a bit of a surprise. We are particularly happy to be winning the skipper’s weight in rum – all 120gs of it.

“We had a great race. The rain shower early on had a bit of wind under it so that helped us a bit. We had about 20kts at the top and it dropped to about 12kts on the far side. We stayed pretty hard inshore most of the way round because we found it quite breezy on some of the points, which helped us.”

Father and son duo from the UK – Nick and Adam Munday – who won their trip to the Mount Gay Round Barbados Race Series – courtesy of the Barbados Tourist Authority London Office, for their overall win of the Royal Southern Yacht Club Summer Series champion of champions event in 2013 in their J/97, were fortunate enough to be onboard too.

Adam Munday commented: “It was pretty awesome. To break the record by over 20 minutes is fantastic and to have the opportunity to share the team’s glory on a boat like this, are what dreams are made of, and we won’t forget the experience in a hurry.”

With consistent winds virtually guaranteed in Barbados, there was never any doubt that the Mount Gay Round Barbados Race, the signature event of the Mount Gay Round Barbados Race Series, was going to be anything other than spectacular. With winds reaching 25kts on some parts of the course, and big rolling seas, the 36 entries ranging from a local windsurfer, to a Dutch brigantine - Tres Hombres – the conditions for this 60-mile clockwise sprint around the island couldn’t have been better.

The big attraction for the big racing yachts was naturally the potential of breaking the outright record based on elapsed time. Realistically, there were two, possibly three yachts in with a chance of taking the record, including Idea – Reichel Pugh 78 (John Wilson, UK) defending the 5 hours, 3 minutes, 34 seconds record she set in 2012, Mount Gay Monster Project – VO70 – and possibly Caro – Knierim 65 (Max Klink), the boat that recently won the ARC.

Peter Allen aboard Stiletto takes line honours in Mount Gay Round Barbados Race; Courtesy -  Peter Marshall

Peter Allen aboard Stiletto takes line honours in Mount Gay Round Barbados Race; Courtesy - Peter Marshall

The staggered start format with slowest boats setting off first (from 0730) and fastest boats last (1140) worked well, and the wind in the early part of the race remained fairly stable. However, a rainsquall that swept through the fleet late morning was an advantage to some of the bigger boats that had just started. Interestingly the wind also made a fairly untypical shift round to the south rather than the forecast shift to the north, which made the eastern side of the island an entire beat.

As time ticked by the fleet made its way fairly rapidly round the island and the first boats appeared on the horizon on their final sprint to the finish mid afternoon. Line honours were taken by solo sailor Peter Allen aboard his catamaran, Stiletto, who completed the course in 7 hour 53 minutes 55 seconds.

Next to cross the line was Mount Gay Monster Project, with Cheeki Rafiki (Beneteau First 40) sailed by Doug Inniss and team in third, and Peter Lewis’ well sailed J/105 – Whistler – in fourth place across the line.

At that stage of the race, with Idea still 20 minutes or so from the line, any hope of her successfully defending her title, diminished leaving Mount Gay Monster Project the new record holder.

Clint Brooks skipper of Idea said: “Despite losing our record, we had a phenomenal race and it was good to break the CSA record. The conditions were wonderful. It became a bit soft towards the end, which was a heartache because it slowed us down. Hence the VO70 was able to push ahead and continue in fresher breeze. For us to have retained our outright record we needed to be doing speeds of 20kts constantly. We had great competition out there however, which is what it is all about and that is what we want to build on.”

  • Sue Pelling

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