Nagel and team achieve unthinkable
Emily Nagel, the Team AkzoNobel sail trimmer, thought her watch captain was joking when he told her they had done the unthinkable by becoming the first team in Volvo Ocean Race history to break the 600-nautical mile barrier in a 24-hour period.
The Bermuda sailor and her team-mates achieved the feat sailing in strong gales and huge swells on leg 9 of the race around the world from Newport, Rhode Island, to Cardiff, Wales, after covering 602.51nmi last Friday to eclipse the previous mark of 596.6nmi held by the Volvo Open 70, Ericsson 4.
“To break the 600 barrier was completely surreal,” Nagel said. “We had been pushing extremely hard in the conditions but when my watch captain told me we had broken it while we were getting ready to go on deck I didn’t believe him at all.
“It was previously thought to be near impossible in these boats. They weren’t designed to be as fast as the Volvo 70s and none of them ever beat 600 so most assumed it wasn’t possible.
“We’re very proud to have achieved it, although it was a very tough 48 hours of sailing. We were getting thrown about so much we were wearing crash helmets complete with face visors. While there were no serious injuries, we all definitely have our fair share of bruises.”
Hours earlier the Dutch syndicate set a new Volvo Ocean 65 class 24-hour distance run of 588.10nmi to eclipse the previous VO65 record of 550.8nmi held by Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing.
Nagel and her team-mates led most of the second half of the 3,300nmi leg, which they completed in 8days 8hr 43 min, but were pipped for line honours by Dutch rival Team Brunel by just four minutes.
The two teams traded the lead over the final 12 hours of the leg before Team Brunel finally seized control 10nmi from the finish.
“The final hours with Brunel were brutal,” Nagel said. “For the entire leg we were never more than 16 miles away from them and in the final day and a half never more than a mile apart. The boats were so close during our final match race we could hear the Brunel sailors talking.
“They certainly gave us a battle right until the end with tacks every few minutes right up until the finish at 4am.
“Congratulations must go to them for some fantastic racing and pushing us so hard.”
Dongfeng Race Team, of China, rounded off the podium to replace Spanish team Mapfre at the top of the leaderboard with two legs of the race remaining. AkzoNobel remain fourth.
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