The four young British sailors have taken 21 hours and 44 minutes off the existing Length of Britain record, which was held by offshore racer Phil Sharp

25 September 2017

Four Vendee2020Vision sailors have set a new Length of Britain record.

The crew – Mikey Ferguson, Lizzy Foreman, Andrew Baker and Jack Trigger – sailed from Land’s End to John o’Groats in 2 days, 14 hours and 6 minutes, crossing the finish line in the early hours of this morning.

The previous record, set by Jersey-born offshore sailor Phil Sharp, was 3 days, 11 hours, 52 minutes, 15 seconds at an average speed of 7.39 knots.

Speaking after beating the record, Jack Trigger said: “We couldn’t be happier, it has been a testing sail, with ups and downs. From lots of wind to the flip side of no wind at the finish. We pushed both the boat and ourselves to the limit, but we’re super happy to have broken the record”.

a racing boat with white sails

Racing hard towards John o’Groats. Credit: Alex Palmer

This is the second record set by the British Vendee2020Vision team.

In 2014, they took the World Record for Monohulls 60 feet and less for Round Britain and Ireland.

The new Length of Britain Record has already been ratified by Sail Scotland, which developed and organised the challenge.

Its chief executive, Daniel Steel said: “We are delighted to crown the Vendee2020Vision team as the new Length of Britain Record Holders. They have shown incredible skill and endurance, taking on the weather and tidal conditions to not only reach the north coast of Scotland in a world record time, but to smash it by over 21 hours.”

“It will be fascinating to see this talented young crew continue to develop, and I hope that taking on our iconic challenge to Scotland will be a memory that lives with them as they make a name for themselves on the world stage,” he added.

Continued below…

The record breaking trip was not without its challenges.

Speaking straight after crossing the finish line, skipper Mikey Ferguson said, “We are really excited to establish this new record time. To be honest it was a relief to get over the line, the last few nights have been pretty tough particularly due to the issues with the wind instruments.”

“I have sailed around the UK three times but this passage has been the hardest to date. To secure the record is fantastic, but this is also about giving these young sailors experience and building towards our ultimate goal to have a young British sailor on the start line for the Vendée Globe in 2020,” he continued.

“They have all gained a lot of great experience and learnings to take away from this trip, from how they manage technical issues on-board, to sailing in every extreme of weather. They all did an amazing job and there are a lot of positives to take away and build on for the future,” added Ferguson.

The team faced a technical issue on day two after the mainsail car bungy broke and the vertical wand which supplies the instruments with wind data was damaged.

A sailors sits in the cockpit while sailing at night

Credit: Alex Palmer

The crew pulled into open water in Belfast Lock so they could continue sailing and complete repairs without having to stop the record attempt.

The wind instruments proved hard to repair at sea and the crew had to continue with limited and at times no wind data as they made the final approach to the north west tip of Scotland.

Sixty miles from the finish off John O’Groats the wind dropped to under three knots as they faced an agonising final sail to the finish line.

Lizzy Foreman said it was “absolutely fantastic” to smash the record

“This was tricky tactical sailing, but really great fun and great to finish. It is fantastic boost in our skill levels and improve our tactical and navigation skills.” she said.

“This has been a huge benefit to me, to pick up new things from the other crew members, and this is a real stepping stone from the smaller boats I have been racing to step up to a boat this size,” added Foreman.

Andrew Baker commented that the mix of weather and conditions made it a “really interesting trip”.

“Record breaking sailing is really interesting there are no other boats to race so it takes away the whole fleet racing element, just the clock to race,” he noted.

“You are really focused on the weather and tactics, you can really push it and work on things and enjoy being part of the team,” added Baker.

22 September 2017

Four offshore British sailors are scheduled to leave Land’s End at 1600BST today (22 September) and race to John o’Groats to try and smash the Length of Britain record.

The current record was set in December 2015 by British sailor Phil Sharp, and stands at 3 days, 11 hours, 52 minutes, 15 seconds at an average speed of 7.39 knots.

The crew will be racing the 879-nautical mile course to John o’Groats onboard the Open 60 Artemis Ocean Racing.

No stranger to setting records, in 2014 Artemis Ocean Racing took the World Record for Monohulls 60 feet and less for Round Britain and Ireland in a time of 5 days, 14 hours, 00 minutes and 54 seconds.

Four crew members in blue jackets and beige trousers in front of a yacht

The crew. Credit: Alex Palmer

The crew features two Vendee2020Vision’s candidates, Lizzy Foreman and Andrew Baker.

They will be joined by Artemis skipper and boat captain Mikey Ferguson and a new addition to the team – Jack Trigger.

Trigger is no stranger to racing hard under pressure – he was part of the record breaking crew onboard the MOD70 Concise, which took line honours in the 2017 Rolex Fastnet Race last month.

Launched in 2016,  Vendee2020Vision is an initiative to nurture Britain’s offshore sailing talent to compete in the 2020 Vendée Globe.

A sailor in a blue jacket grinds

Jack Trigger grinding on deck. Credit: Alex Palmer

During the Length of Britain record attempt, the four crew will have to test their skills in some of the coldest and most challenging conditions off Britain’s coastline.

Follow the crew’s progress via the live tracker here

As well as trying to smash the record, the crew will also be testing several pieces of wearable technology to provide vital data to assist the team in improving overall performance and health at sea.

From monitoring sleep cycles and baseline vitals during an offshore race, the team will also work with Jack Trigger, a Type 1 diabetic, to see how wearable tech can assist in the management of his condition offshore.