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Team Argo on pace to break Bermuda to Plymouth world speed record

Helmsman/navigator Brian Thompson, second right, and some of the crew of Team Argo on the eve of their world speed record attempt (Photograph by Colin Thompson)

Team Argo remain firmly on pace to break the Bermuda to Plymouth world speed record.

The Newport, Rhode Island-based team’s offshore foiling MOD70 trimaran Argo was clocked travelling along at 30 knots at one stage yesterday on the edge of a weather front making its way up the North Atlantic.

The team’s crew of six, led by helmsman/navigator Brian Thompson, is attempting to break the five-year-old Bermuda to Plymouth world speed record, which stands at five days 11hr 57min 17sec, and have already completed half of the 2,870 nautical mile journey on Lloyd Thornburg’s 70ft one-design multihull.

“They are still on sub-five-day target, with about 25 to 26 knots average speed, which is good,” said Tom Clarke, the International Race Officer and Bermuda Sailing Association president. “I think they need to average 24 knots to stay below five days and right now they are tracking well for the record.”

Perhaps the biggest obstacle Team Argo’s crew of six could potentially face will be the last hundred miles going to Britain when the system they are hitching a ride on turns left before it gets to England and moves towards Scotland.

“They are not sure what they are going to get when they get close to the UK shoreline,” added Clarke, the official timer and starter for the world speed record attempt.

“They are riding right on the edge of a front that’s going right across the Atlantic and don’t want to get too far into it because there’s too much wind there. They want to stay right on the edge otherwise the seas get too big and everything else gets unmanageable.

“They are just going to stay right on the edge of it and scoot in and out depending on the sea condition and wind strength.”

Englishman Thompson, who already holds multiple world speed records, helped set the existing record in May of 2016 as the co-skipper on board Team Argo’s sister ship, Phaedo3.

“We have been looking at this record for awhile and fingers crossed it’s lined up quite well,” he told The Royal Gazette on the eve of the team’s departure. “The record is 21 knots so we want to be going 24 to 25 knots along the way.”

Thompson and fellow crew Chad Corning, Charlie Ogletree, Westy Barlow, Pete Cumming and Alister Richardson set sail for Plymouth from the official finish line of the Newport to Bermuda Race located directly off St David’s Lighthouse at 6.53pm last Friday.

“The start was pretty much textbook,” Clarke said.

“They did a couple of runs to make sure they had the right sail up and then they told us on the radio they are going to do their final run.

“So we lined them up visually on the compass and also lined them up with Harbour Radio on their GPS [global positioning system] and AIS [automatic identification system],so we had a couple of back-ups.

“Then we just had to clock exactly what time they left across the line and then they were gone.”

Clarke was assisted by fellow official timer and starter Leatrice Oatley, the past Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Commodore.

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Published June 07, 2021 at 7:57 am (Updated June 07, 2021 at 7:54 am)

Team Argo on pace to break Bermuda to Plymouth world speed record

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