#som – When a Round Ireland record has stood for nearly 22 years, clearly it is something very special, and the 44–hour time set by Steve Fossett's 60ft trimaran Lakota in 1993 has withstood several challenges, including three by top French skipper Sidney Gavignet.
It was Ireland's own Damian Foxall – a frequent shipmate of Gavignet – who first got him hooked on the challenge of the round Ireland record. So it was ironic that a mid-race call to Foxall to beef up one of the crews in the current Volvo World Race meant he was unavoidably absent on other business when Gavignet saw the opportunity developing for the MOD 70 Musandam-Oman to knock off the Ireland target at the beginning of May.
This month of notably atrocious weather provided one of those rare but perfect record conditions where a deep low pressure area sat plumb over the country on May 4th. But as ever, Donegal proved to be obtuse – up there, Musandam Oman was hampered by lack of wind.
However, Gavignet and his crew were soon making up lost time as they streaked down the Connacht coast in a strong nor'wester, and though they were well shy of taking the originally anticipated ten hours off Lakota's time when they returned to the finish line at the Kish L/H off Dublin Bay, they'd got down to within shouting distance of 40 hours in rugged sailing conditions which very deservedly make Sidney Gavignet the winner of an Afloat.ie International Award.