How do 24-hour speed records work?


François Gabart, then Jean-Perre Dick... The record of the distance covered single-handedly in 24 hours on an IMOCA Open 60 keeps improving. It had been held by Alex Thomson (468.72 nautical miles in a day) since 2003 and has been beaten by the Virbac Paprec 3 skipper, who covered almost 35 more miles (502.53).

Record JP Dick
© Vendée Globe

The 2003 record has actually been beaten several times since the start of the 2012-2013 Vendée Globe and held by several skippers since the record distance covered can change every 30 minutes, every time a boat reaches a new specific spot. The Race Direction uses the « tracking 30’ » system to keep track of the actual route each skipper is sailing in 30 minutes ad determine the distance covered between one spot and another over 24 hours.

The positions are captured every thirty minutes and it is not unusual to see a record holder beat his own record again in a single day.

Marseille-DouarnenezLatest records established on December 1, 2012:
Jean-Pierre Dick: 502,53 miles at 09h00 UTC (average speed of 20.9 knots)
François Gabart: 487,23 miles at 05h30 UTC (average speed of 20.3 knots)
Bernard Stamm: 482,59 miles at 12h00 UTC (average speed of 20.1 knots)
Alex Thomson: 473,87 miles at 10h00 UTC (average speed of 19.7 knots)


The double-handed record has also been held by Dick since 2011 on the same boat, with Loïck Peyron (506,33 miles).

The 930-kilometre distance covered by Virbac-Paprec 3 is the equivalent of the distance between Douarnenez and Marseille as the crow flies.

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