ASSA ABLOY Racing Team members Mark Rudiger and Roy Heiner have set the new Annapolis to Newport record, taking 5 hours off the previous best time
ASSA ABLOY Racing Team members Mark Rudiger and Roy Heiner have set the new Annapolis to Newport record, taking 5 hours off the previous best time. The duo sailed on the well-managed American Farr 60 ‘Carrera’, with race manager Chris Larson. ‘Carrera’ was the first boat over the line in a record-breaking time. The previous record was broken with some 5 hours to spare!
ASSA ABLOY co-skipper Mark Rudiger reports from Newport:
“Chris Larson had put together a good bunch of guys. We crossed the finish line at 6:58 am on June 18. Our biggest competition would be from “Blue Yankee” a mini maxi 66 owing us about 2 hours, “Trader”, “Donnybrook” and a host of large IMS boats.
The first leg was strewn with land mines in the form of squalls and wind shifts left over from Tropical storm Allison which was quite nearby and would plague us for most of the race. We must have done 30 sail changes down the bay. The next leg up the coast saw the westerly build and we were treated to hours of awesome power reaching.
Our girlfriend Alison, that was forecast to move offshore, slowed down and became embedded in a stronger front. We had several squall lines hit us hard, the worst of which gave us sustained 38 to 48 knots gusting over 50. We had to convince the guys to keep the storm sails up in the lulls. Had we rehoisted the main, it would have been shredded. We were down to the storm jib and trysail for several hours.
At one point I was driving and we were laying practically flat on our side in the gusts trying to hold ground to weather. We kept our pace up the whole time and things finally calmed down to a mild roar by late afternoon. We had seen ‘Trader’ to leeward and we thought ‘Blue Yankee’ and ‘Donnybrook’ were behind us, but by sunset we couldn’t see anyone.
As the sun came up, we scanned the Horizon with no one in sight – always worrisome. Sure enough, one of the big boys emerged about 30 degrees abaft the beam. We had decided to go below to have a better angle on the wind and less current. As it got lighter, we could see it was indeed our competitor “Blue Yankee”.
After finishing at 06.58 am, we had killed the current record by almost five hours. Blue Yankee finished 22 minutes behind us. It reinforced our feeling that it is important to do some of these races. Practice makes perfect.”
Having thrown down the gauntlet to the other teams in the Volvo Ocean Race, it will be interesting to see what will happen at the Round Gotland race in Scandinavia this Sunday, where at least two of the current Volvo teams will be competing.