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Touch and go for record as Argo approaches Plymouth

Team Argo (Photo Sharon Green)

Team Argo is expected to make landfall at their destination in Plymouth, England, tomorrow.

But whether their offshore foiling MOD70 trimaran Argo arrives in record time remains to be seen as the winds are forecast to diminish on the final run to the finish.

The Newport, Rhode Island-based team is attempting to break the five-year-old Bermuda to Plymouth world speed record, which stands at five days 11hr 57min 17sec, and remained on course to do so yesterday travelling below the rhumb line at speeds exceeding 31 knots.

“Team Argo is still tracking well with a four-day, 19-hour projected time,” Tom Clarke, the International Race Officer and Bermuda Sailing Association president, told The Royal Gazette.

“The front they are riding is a little south of where they expected but should turn more northerly overnight tonight for a better course. But it will also start to diminish slightly.”

Team Argo continued to make excellent progress having covered more than 600 nautical miles over the last 24-hour period.

The team’s strategy to maintain optimum speed has been to capitalise on the favourable winds associated with a weather front tracking across the Atlantic that they have been sailing on the edge of for more than half of the 2,870-nautical mile journey.

However, the winds will subside as the system turns left before it gets to England and moves in a northerly direction towards Scotland.

“The current angle of the wind into Plymouth should improve next 24 hours, but wind strength will taper slightly,” added Clarke, the official timer and starter for the world speed record attempt.

“The target is probably a little tighter than they would prefer, but they are still tracking to a sub-five-day goal.”

On board Jason Caroll’s 70ft one-design multihull for the record attempt is a crew of six comprising Brian Thompson, Chad Corning, Charlie Ogletree, Westy Barlow, Pete Cumming and Alister Richardson.

Helmsman/navigator Thompson helped set the existing Bermuda to Plymouth world speed record in May 2016 as the co-skipper on board Team Argo’s sister ship, Phaedo3.

The Englishman is best known in the field of multihull sailing and offshore races and records. His achievements include 35 world records, one of which was when he was part of the crew on Maxi Trimaran Banque Populaire V, who hold the record for the fastest sailing yacht around the world.

Team Argo set sail for Plymouth from the official finish line of the Newport Bermuda Race located directly off St David’s Lighthouse at 6.53pm last Friday.

The team’s trimaran, which already owns multiple records in her home port in Newport, has undergone an upgrade having been equipped with hydrofoils to provide more lift and increase speed.

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Published June 08, 2021 at 8:00 am (Updated June 07, 2021 at 5:42 pm)

Touch and go for record as Argo approaches Plymouth

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