Client: Ben Ainslie Racing
Contractor: JP Morgan Asset Management
Duration: June 2013
Date posted: 26-06-2013
Sir Ben Ainslie and his crew, onboard J.P.Morgan BAR AC45, smashed the Round the Island Race multihull record off the Isle of Wight. The record which has stood for 12 years was obliterated by 16 minutes and 8 seconds.
The team started at sunrise in perfect, northerly 15 knot conditions with the other multihull classes for the 50-mile race around the Isle of Wight off the south coast of the UK.
Within the hour the conditions worsened to 25 knots. MMC-Diving services were in pursuit at 35 knots with a team of five and two divers dressed ready to deploy should the AC 45 be pushed hard enough to capsize. These extreme boats are sailed on the limit with a select few of the world's top sailors fortunate enough to have the opportunity to sail them.
"Seeing what those boats were capable of, with speeds of up to 40 knots, would frighten the life out of most experienced sailors. The class rules looked like they were dangerous boats to sail. At 40 knots the control is minimal. Hit a big wave and that is it."
For the crew onboard J.P.Morgan BAR it was a special day as they were also racing in honour of Andrew Simpson MBE, who was tragically caught underneath one whilst training in one of the ac Artemist boats out in San Francisco bay "Andrew was caught underneath and was under there for a few minutes. By the time he was brought to the surface and CPR was administered, sadly he passed away. It was a very tragic day for everybody."
Having a full dive team follow at high speed with spare air, surface supplied and underwater communications, fully equipped with a medic, spinal board, oxygen, de-fib was a huge comfort for the sailing team. MMC Diving Services are familiar with high performance racing boats, salvage, difficult working conditions in low to nil visibility.
"It was a beautiful race the conditions were perfect for us, the boat performed incredibly well and the team sailed her really well, and so everything fell into place and we ended up breaking the multihull record. For us that was a real bonus because we really wanted to do the race in Andrew's memory. Yesterday was such a difficult day; to come out today and have such a wonderful race and to do it in his memory was very special"
Skipper Sir Ben Ainslie