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Damian Foxall Breaks American Newport to Ensenada Race Record on Mod 70 Orion

24th April 2016
Damian Foxall Breaks American Newport to Ensenada Race Record on Mod 70 Orion

Kerry yachtsman Damian Foxall shattered a long standing American Yacht Racing record at the weekend when his MOD 70 Orion crossed the finish line of the Newport to Ensenada Race in 5 hours, 17 minutes, 26 seconds, smashing the former record of 6:46:40, set by the late Steve Fossett on the yacht Stars and Stripes in 1998 by more than 1 hour, 29 minutes.

It sets up Ireland's top offshore racer nicely for his next campaign when he rejoins the MOD 70 Omansail for RORC's Myth of Malham race before the Round Ireland race race in eight weeks time, a race previewed by WM Nixon at the weekend. Foxall joins Oman Sail in France next week. 

Orion, the MOD70 based in the San Francisco Bay area and owned by Tom Siebel broke the fastest elapsed time record in the International Yacht Race.

Foxall was racing with a top Amercian crew. After finishing the record breaking run, fellow crew member Peter Isler said: 'Another course record for the MOD 70 Orion. This one is going to be hard to beat we had a great team, an amazing boat and beautiful sailing conditions!'

In a race press release organisers said:  Orion crossed the finish line with an incredible time of 5:17:26. This demolishes the old record of 6:46:40, set by the late Steve Fossett on the yacht Stars and Stripes in 1998, by more than 1 hour and 29 minutes.

Earlier in the day, Orion crossed the start line ahead of its two classmates. Apparently, it never looked back. Winds at the start were a modest 8 to 9 knots. But all classes caught the steady gusts and were horizon bound by 12:30 p.m.

Mighty Merloe, the 60 ORMA that has been dueling with Orion for first to finish honors the past three years, followed just 20 minutes later with a time of 5:37:18 – also breaking the old record by more than an hour. Orion is also expected to win its class based on a corrected time of 12:26:36. The Orion crew had turned the boat around and was heading North before many of the race organizers were able to arrive from Newport Beach.

A series of accidents and heavy traffic on I5 and at the border crossing meant many of the hardworking race hosts missed seeing the historic finish.

But unlike the year when Dennis Conner set a record, the finish boat was in place to record the record time. “What a historic occasion,” said NOSA Commodore Dave Shockley. “Although there have been much advancement in yacht design and construction since the previous record was set, I’m sure the skill and dedication of the crew had much to do with shattering the old record.” Some of the shore-side sailors estimated the record breaking run meant Orion averaged 25 knots an hour over the 125-mile course. “The stars really aligned this year – fabulous boats and crew members were able to take advantage of great weather conditions,” Shockley said. “In sailboat racing, to beat a record by that much is really prenominal.”

Published in Offshore

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