This weekend was a fruitful one for Brad van Liew on Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America. In addition to closing the gap on Cape Town by more than 700 miles, he also set a new 24 hour distance record.
From 3-o-clock on Saturday morning until 3-o-clock on Sunday morning (GMT) Brad ran an incredible 345.03 miles. That's an average speed of 14.37 knots and is likely to be recognized as the longest distance sailed by a 50-foot monohull sailboat when it is ratified by the World Sailing Speed Council.
The previous longest distance was recorded by J.P. Mouligne in the 1998-99 Around Alone race. JP sailed 333.6 miles aboard his Finot designed Open 50, Cray Valley. Both boats are quite similar except that Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America has a canting keel (Cray Valley has water ballast), and Brad spent most of the early part of this year modifying and tweaking his boat to make it one of the fastest 50 sailboats in the world. This record setting run confirms that Brad's effort were not in vain. He was obviously thrilled with his performance having come within meters of breaking the record on the first leg. "I was on a tight reach to a beam reach in 30 knots of wind. The boat was smoke'n along at a constant speed all day,"
he said. "It is nice to actually document a record. Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America is definitely faster than I am. She is capable of more."
In addition to setting this new record, Brad also sailed into the Eastern Hemisphere by crossing the Prime Meridian (0 degrees longitude) and will remain in this hemisphere until the fourth leg when the International Date Line is crossed and he returns to the Western Hemisphere.
In order for the World Sailing Speed Council to ratify the record, a few rules need to apply. First of all the positions must be recorded by a GPS and must be collected and forwarded without any action by the crew of the vessel. In other words the skipper on the boat must in no way be able to tamper with any of the information. Second, the 24 hour period may begin at any time. In fact for four hours either side of the 3-o-clock time Brad also broke the old record. It's just that his fastest time was between three in the morning Saturday until the same time Sunday. The final point is that for a distance to be ratified as a record, it must be at least one nautical mile greater than the previously ratified record. Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America's record run meets and exceeds these requirements. Brad smashed the previous record by more than 11 miles.
This morning van Liew had 488 miles to go to the finish in Cape Town. If he continues at a reasonable pace Brad should be able to join his wife and new baby for their first Thanksgiving together. Thanksgiving is this Thursday. His rough ETA is for a daylight finish on Wednesday.
From all the race organizers and media team, our congratulations to Brad and his team on an incredible run.
Positions at 0600, 25/11/02
||Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America
||Spirit of Canada
||Spirit of yukoh