Ian Walker has described Abu Dhabi Racing’s record-breaking victory in the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race as “the perfect performance”.
Walker’s crew obliterated the existing four-year monohull record and showed that the new one-design Volvo Ocean 65 is more than a match for speed, in the right conditions, for its predecessor, the Volvo Open 70.
The achievement, completed shortly before midnight on Friday, was all the more remarkable for the fact that two Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing crew members suffered injuries during the race.
Phil Harmer has a suspected broken hand and Justin Slattery has a rib injury. The team also reported that a hydraulic leak and a malfunctioning water-maker also tested the crew’s engineering and maintenance skills.
Abu Dhabi’s Azzam finished the 1,800-mile course in four days, 13 hours and ten minutes, lopping one day, eight hours and 16 minutes off the previous record set by France’s Groupama.
Walker, from Warsash, said: “I’m very, very pleased, because it was the perfect performance. And I’m delighted for every crew member because it was a lot of work.
“It’s pretty exciting that we smashed [the record] by more than a day with these new Volvo Ocean 65 boats. And all five boats made it around safe and in one piece despite the rough weather.”
The Round Britain and Ireland race was the first serious rehearsal for the Volvo Ocean Race’s 12th edition, which starts on October 4 in Alicante.