France in five-and-a-half hours as Maiden 2 slices the cross-Channel record

Maiden 2, Tracy Edwards’s giant catamaran, made a spectacular day sail today, unofficially breaking the Cowes-St Malo record by nearly an hour. It is unofficial at this stage until ratified by the World Speed Sailing Records Council, but Brian Thompson and his crew believe they’ve knocked nearly an hour off the record – a big margin, considering this is a six-hour record.

They finished in St Malo in 5 hours and 24 minutes. To put it in perspective, Maiden 2 sailed past the Needles at 1000 and was in St Malo at just after 1430.

“We’re smoking! I can see St Malo and we’re doing 26 knots of boatspeed,” reported Brian Thompson as they sped towards the finish line. “The wind has held all the way. Contrary to what was expected, we’ve had 15-16 knots the whole time.

“The conditions have been ideal, in the middle of the Channel we went from the big gennaker to the yankee then held that sail all the way till just past Jersey then we went to the staysail and full main.”

Maiden turned straight back this afternoon and are now ‘smoking back’ for celebrations in Southampton – tonight!