Both will be tested to their limits because they are embarking in a couple of weeks – in mid-winter.
“We will be setting a benchmark which I think many will go on to challenge, simply because it is a great, mainly downwind, fast route. However this also be part of the training and conditioning for the Southern Ocean which is where I aim to be at Christmas next year during the Vendée Globe. Sailing in mid-December on Scotland’s most northerly coast, along the Pentland Firth and around Cape Wrath, are some of the most hostile waters in Europe, certainly as cold and malicious at times as the Southern Ocean.”
Phil’s race boat for the Vendée Globe is not available for the Lands End John O Groats Challenge and because of its 4.5m draft could not enter the harbours of the NE Scotland anyway. So a high-performance Class 40 racing boat (smaller than the Vendee boats) has been chartered which will be delivered to Falmouth ahead of the record. This will be an opportunity to train Sean and teach him the ropes.
The team will be on standby for the record any time after the 6th December, and will leave as soon as the right weather window presents itself. The weather is likely to be very challenging. They will be aboard an awesomely fast racing machine powered by nothing but the elements. There will be risks. It is going to be very wet, very cold and very wild. And, remember, December means long, long hours of darkness and short days. And we are going to be there with them. In spirit anyway.
Laddiefans who have been lucky enough to experience the exhilaration of sailing boats in big winds will understand the sensory overload, and understand why we want to be involved and why we want to help tell this story. We are not quite sure how we are going to do it just yet, because communicating with the yacht as it hurtles northwards will be challenging, but we are going to have a go.
We hope you will join us… This promises to be a white-knuckle ride….