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24-hour monohull speed record falls

The Volvo ocean racer MoviStar has broken the world 24-hour monohull sailing speed record, logging 530.19 nautical miles in 24 hours.

The Spanish raceboat, one of the new Volvo 70s with canting keel, broke the record April 4-5 on its maiden ocean voyage in the Southern Ocean. MoviStar’s Dutch skipper, Bowe Bekking, and nine crewmembers were four days out of Wellington, N.Z., headed for Cape Horn when Bekking called MoviStar general manager, Pedro Campos, by satellite phone with the news. “We hoped that the boat would give us many pleasant surprises, but in all honesty we never thought we’d get such great news so soon,” Campos said in an e-mail press release.

The team launched the Bruce Farr-designed Volvo 70 in March at Australia’s Boatspeed Boatyard, the same one that built Ellen MacArthur’s multihull B&Q, which recently broke the single-handed round-the-world record. Bekking and crew sea-trialed MoviStar, then set out from Australia for Wellington, Cape Horn and Rio de Janeiro for a trial run of the fourth leg of the 2005-’06 Volvo Ocean Race.

VOR chief executive Glenn Bourke praised the team’s achievement as a demonstration of the speed of the new Volvo 70s, which will be racing for the first time in the six-month, 31,250-nautical-mile Volvo around-the-world race that begins Nov. 12 off Vego, Spain.

The World Sailing Speed Record Council has ratified MoviStar’s record 24-hour run. The boat averaged 22.8 knots over 24 hours, breaking the previous monohull record of 21.9 knots average speed and 525.7 nautical miles set by British sailor Robert Miller’s 140-foot Mari-Cha IV in October 2003. The overall 24-hour record is 706.2 nautical miles at an average speed of 29.42 knots, set by Frenchman Bruno Peyron’s 120-foot catamaran, Orange II, in August 2004.

“This is an historic record for sailing,” Campos said. “Nobody has ever gone so far in just 24 hours sailing in a single-hull boat. And this was just a training session.”