ABN Amro Ass Kicking…

Team ABN Amro has been doing it in the PR realm–with the best photos and videos–and they are also doing it on the water. Both boats (the A boat and the B boat) broke the monohull 24-hour record over the weekend. Amro One clocked up 546 miles. Amro Two, the “kids boat,” racked up 537 miles. Pretty impressive if you recall that the outright 24-hour sailing record in 1998 was 540 miles (set by a Formula 60 trimaran; a record that was upped to 580 miles by PlayStation in her debut). The dual sprint has put the ABN Amro boats way out front. (Click here for latest VOR news and updates). Unless they break down, these are going to be the first boats into Cape Town. No video yet, but here’s what Amro Two navigator Simon Fisher had to say about the experience:

“We are absolutely charging along now, on record pace – the last sched came through and we’d averaged 23 knots for the last six hours! Without a doubt this is definitely life at the extreme. The whole boat is shuddering
and shaking as we crash through one wave to the next, all the winches and blocks are screaming and cracking like cannon fire under the load.

Water is pouring down the deck and into the hatch so we have to bail out every half an hour or so to avoid turning the leeward side of the boat into a swimming pool.

It is often emphasized how hard life is on these boats, and it is all true. The food is bad and bland, sleep is near impossible at times, you are nearly always damp if not wet when the conditions are rough. The simple things in life become a major exercise like getting dressed or going to the toilet.

Even my bunk is absolutely sodden now, having been swamped last night when the cockpit filled with water and a hatch was left open. Seb (Sebastien Josse) was pinned under 50 litres of water and his iPod is no more! The windows on the Nav station are now leaking too, it’s a constant battle to keep the water away from all the electronics.

On deck things aren’t much easier, it is like standing in front of a fire hose and you have to hang on to stay in the cockpit. Only an hour ago Bicey (Nick Bice) was swept off the stack and down the cockpit whilst trimming.

However, despite all this hardship and hassle, there is nowhere else in the world I would rather be right now. This is me at my happiest, tearing though the south Atlantic with the speed in excess of thirty knots.

Despite all you have to endure, sailing these boats is just plain fun. It’s a difficult feeling to describe, a mixture of adrenaline and excitement, fear and apprehension. You don’t know if something is about to break or how long these conditions will last. All that matters is that we are pushing the boat to its limit. But it’s in control and for now we’re the fastest on the track.”

Sounds exciting, no? The SO is going to be off the charts…

“Damn, we’re fast…”

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