Gold medallist, America's Cup winner and now world record holder.

Kiwi sailer Blair Tuke has added to his impressive CV by helping his Volvo Ocean Race team Mapre break the world record time for a monohull around the Isle of Wight. The Spanish team broke the record as part of the Sevenstar Triple Crown series at Lendy Cowes Week.

The Mapfre crew completed the 80km course around the Isle of Wight in three hours, 13 minutes and 11 seconds. The time was more than six minutes ahead of the previous record set in 2013.

Another Kiwi double Olympc medalist, Jo Aleh, was on board the second-placed boat, Team Brunel, which also went under the previous race record. Aleh is currently trialling for a place on the Dutch team, which is skippered by ocean racing veterann Bouwe Bekking.


The first four of the Volvo Ocean 65s - Mapfre, Brunel, AkzoNobel and Dongfeng - were all, subject to ratification by the World Sailing Speed Record Council, under the fastest previous monohull time of 3:20, set by the super-maxi ICAP Maximus.

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Posted by Volvo Ocean Race on Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Mapfre brought their team's Olympic experience to bear as they won the start handily, beating Vestas 11th Hour Racing and Brunel across the line.

With wind from the south between 15-20 knots at the start and gusts up to 35 knots, the boats flew down the Solent on the outgoing tide. The most recently announced team, and thus the team with the least miles in training, Dee Caffari's Turn the Tide on Plastic was the only boat with a reef at the start. They were quickly joined by the rest of the fleet as the wind built during the drag race down the Solent.

After the southern point of the island the Volvo Ocean 65s were finally able to bear away onto their favourite point of sail, with navigator Joan Vila perfectly choosing MAPFRE's course and sail changes.

There was no surprise that all the top teams around the back of the island had done the previous race, with Mapfre leading Dongfeng and Brunel. Bouwe Bekking's strong performance demonstrated that despite only a week's training before today, and crew trials still underway, the 39,000 miles sailed in the 2014-15 edition are worth gold.

The boats will now regroup in Gosport as a final opportunity to prepare for the Rolex Fastnet Race, the second stage of Leg Zero, starting on Monday. After the Fastnet, the teams complete Leg Zero by sailing from Plymouth to St Malo and then on to Lisbon.