Andrew Bray, former Yachting World editor and one of the founders of the race, reports on the Azores and Back shorthanded race which sees the record smashed by almost 20 hours.
The Azores and Back race record of 5d 23h 11m set in 1987 and all other records except the multihull record, have been smashed by the Class 40 Coix du Sud who crossed the line at 1606BST with an elapsed time of 5d 03h 36m to Ponta Delgada on the island of Sao Miguel, Azores.
The eleventh Azores and Back Race started from Falmouth, UK, on June 6. The race, which runs every four years, is open to single and two handed entries and the course is to Ponta Delgada, on the island of Sao Miguel in the Azores and, after a stopover, back to Falmouth. Each leg is 1,200 miles and there are four classes based on IRC handicaps. The race is organised by the Royal Cornwall Yacht Club and sponsored by Red Ensign.
Sixty six boats started the race in fresh north westerly winds with strong north easterlies forecast for the third day and these materialised giving opportunity for huge gains as well as big loses.
Record breaking conditions for some proved boat breaking conditions for others with up to 11 boats retiring or having major problems by June 10. There were damaged rudders, a broken boom and other rigging and sail problems and a failed autopilot.
For more information go to www.azab.co.uk