After 24 hours at sea, Maiden II has hit some big winds as she heads for the Shetland Islands on her Round Britain and Ireland record- attempt

Tracy Edwards’ maxi cat Maiden II set off on her Round Britain and Ireland record attempt from the Solent yesterday at 1348 local time. After a light start on an easterly route out of the Solent, the wind built to allow Maiden II to reach speeds of 28 knots.

Maiden II is one of three multihulls currently challenging for the record, the other two are Olivier de Kersauson’s trimaran Geronimo and the trimaran foiler, L’Hydroptère.

According to Brian Thompson skipper on board Maiden II, they had a fantastic sail all day yesterday and stormed up the north sea at high speed until 0100 but then the wind died completely. “We were sitting looking at same oil rig for seven hours.”

Thankfully for Team Maiden II the low pressure system currently passing over Britain has created the wind they’ve been waiting for and are now back up to speed as they head for the Shetland Islands. Thompson added: “It’s a long way round the course so we can still catch any lost time up. We expect to be slowed again as we approach the islands, but then have good speeds down to the Hebrides and along the west coast of Ireland. It should all even out in the end and we are all pushing hard with the goal of beating the current record. This is what we all love to do, and nobody said it was going to be easy!

“It is great for us to get out into open waters again, and this course is perfect training for our Jules Verne attempt in January. In the last 24 hours we have had every sail up save the storm spinnaker and the storm jib. Our manoeuvres are getting better all the time and we are testing our watch systems, food, clothing and mechanical systems. We have been looking for weeks for an opportunity to do a Round Britain trip, and this has been our first chance since arriving back after the 24 hour record we achieved on our Transatlantic trip from the USA.”

In an effort not to give too much away to the other two competitors, Thompson explained that they can not provide constant yacht positioning during this record-breaking attempt: “Its a shame that we cannot tell the spectators our positions, but the one who gives away their position would be at a disadvantage to the others who could skirt around any slow patches or push extra hard to keep up with the pace of the others. In a way it makes our life on board less stressful. We just sail as fast and safely as we can, take the best course we can, and see what happens at the end. We will, however, be able to compare notes at the finish, and settle who had the best conditions and which boat suited the course the best, cat, tri or foiler.”