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'John Merricks' sets new world sailing record

Friday, 14 July 2006
Volvo RYA Keelboat Programme set new world sailing record On Wednesday afternoon (13 July 2006) the Volvo RYA Keelboat Programme took their place in history as the fastest ever crew to sail from Gillkicker Point, Portsmouth to Cork, Ireland. Taking part in the inaugural Big V Race, members of the Volvo RYA Keelboat Squad took line honours in the Big V Race with the help of TV presenter Ben Fogle and his girlfriend who were both on board for the trip. Taking 49hrs, 19 minutes and 39 seconds to complete the trip, the team, sailing Farr 45 'John Merricks,' crossed the finish line Wednesday afternoon. While enjoying a celebratory glass of champagne and a pint of Guinness, Jamie Holmes, a student and Southampton University, enthused about their two-day sail. "I think the whole crew are ecstatic about setting this record. We had a really good sail with light to moderate winds for most of the trip. Ben Fogel has really proved to be an asset on a race boat. While he doesn't have a huge amount of sail racing experience, he was great to have on board and made for a very grunty mast man." Helmsman Johnny Marshall of Lymington was positive about the race and is looking to build on the team's experience. "I'm thrilled that we took line honours and the world record. The race was a good learning experience as we tested out different watch systems and the freeze-dried food. We will be looking on building on this experience as we move on to our next challenge: the Round Britain and Ireland Race." Ben Fogle reflected on their record attempt. "I am absolutely delighted. We got off to tremendous start and the guys worked hard to get us into a great position. The team was brilliant through out and they got absolutely everything they could out of the boat. "I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. It was a real privilege to sail with the Volvo RYA Keelboat squad, and I will certainly be following their progress in future." Accompanying Jonny, Jamie and Ben Fogle were Ed Hill (Guildford), Bethan Carden (Lymington), Charlotte Lawrence (Edinburgh), Ben Pym (Cardiff) and Nikki Sharp (Manchester) who all took turns trimming sails. Manager for the Volvo RYA Keelboat programme's Southern Squad, Luke McCarthy, and Manager for the National Squad, Nigel King, also joined the amateur sailors. The Volvo RYA Keelboat Programme provides a pathway for young sailors to break into the world of big boat racing. After receiving top-level coaching and access to grants, sailors on the programme go on to successfully compete in international keelboat events, such as the recent the Rolex Commodores' Cup. Complete results are located on the event website http://uk.virginmoney.com/cancer-cover/bigvevents/sail. Further information about the Volvo RYA Keelboat Programme can be found on the RYA website, www.rya.org.uk/racing/keelboats

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