Sailing Feats: Bring Me the Horizon

By: Nathan Chandler

In 2011, captain Loick Peyron and his crew set the record for circumnavigation (sailing around the world). How long did it take them?

Peyron led his crew to a record of 45 days, 13 hours. They'd traveled the whole planet by sail in just more than a month and a half.

In 2017, Francis Joyon bested Peyron's crew. How long did it take Joyon to complete the same around-the-world trip?

Joyon's crew didn't just break the prized record -- they shattered it. At 40 days, 23 hours, it was more than four days faster than Peyron's time.

In 2012, Paul Larsen from Australia set the 500-meter sailing speed record. How fast did he go?

In just 500 meters, Larsen and his Sailrocket 2 zipped to 65 knots. That's more than 75 mph.

During that incredibly fast 500-meter dash, what was Larsen's TOP speed?

He might have averaged 65 knots for the record, but his top speed was even faster. His Sailrocket 2 topped 68 knots.

In the same week, Paul Larsen also set what other record?

The Sailrocket 2 was built for high speed over shorter distances. Larsen set the nautical mile record that same week with an average speed of 55 knots.

Many sailors set out to capture the Jules Verne trophy, awarded to people who circumnavigate the world in how long?

The trophy is named for Vernes' famous book, "Around the World in Eighty Days." So to capture the trophy, sailors must complete the journey in 80 or fewer days.

Everyone who beats the 80-day requirement receives a Jules Verne trophy.

In order to obtain the trophy, sailors have to beat the previous record. And the trip must be non-stop without any help.

An American crew currently holds the record for the fastest west-to-east journey across the Atlantic.

A U.S.-based crew hasn't held the west-to-east transatlantic record since 2001, when Steve Fossett set the mark. Pascal Bidegorry holds the current mark of 3 days, 15 hours.

Sailors of one nation tend to dominate the transatlantic records. From which country do these speedy sailors hail?

France breeds some of Earth's speediest sailors. For both solo and crewed journeys, they dominate the transatlantic record board.

What's the record for distance sailed in 24 hours?

In 2009, Pascal Bidegorry averaged more than 37 knots during his journey, in which he sailed more than 907 nautical miles in just 24 hours.

During Bidegorry's epic 24-hour trip, he beat the old record by how many nautical miles?

The previous record was 794 nautical miles, meaning that Bidegorry destroyed the mark by more than 100 nautical miles. His trimaran was named Banque Populaire V.

In 1905, Charlie Barr and his crew set the first official west-to-east record across the Atlantic. How long did it take them?

Around a century ago, ships were much slower than they are now. It took Barr's crew more than 12 days to complete the adventure.

In 1987, 80 years after Barr's crew set that famous record, Bruno Peyron set out to set the solo record for the same route. How long did it take him?

Solo work is much harder than crewed sailing. Peyron needed more than 11 days to make the same journey as Barr's crewed expedition.

In July 2005, Francis Joyon sailed across the Atlantic alone. Where did he begin his journey?

Joyon set off from the coast of New York and made it to the Cornwall area in just over 6 days. It was a record that made him famous.

Joyon's solo record for transatlantic sailing speed was broken in 2008 by Thomas Coville. How did Joyon respond?

Joyon wasn't satisfied to let Coville take the record, so he set out to break it again. In 2013, he did just that, by completing the trip in just over 5 days, about 17 hours faster than Coville.

What's the instantaneous speed record?

The instantaneous speed record measures the fastest speed achieved by a sailing vessel, and it's not officially logged by any sailing organization.

Even though no official group tracks instantaneous speed records, what's the fastest time on record?

Thanks to a nearly 30-knot gust, in 2012 the Vestas Sailrocket 2 hit a top speed of more than 68 knots. That's more than 78 mph.

In 2000, Bruno Peyron organized "The Race." What was its goal?

The Race was an around-the-world dash. It was won by New Zealander Grant Dalton and his crew. It took more than 62 days to complete this journey.

How much did Dalton win for nabbing first place in The Race?

Dalton's 62-day trip turned out to be quite profitable. He and his crew won the $2 million prize offered by Bruno Peyron.

How many crews competed in The Race?

Just seven crews competed in The Race. And of the seven, only five completed the entire trip. The last-place finisher crossed the finish line more than a month after Dalton's winning crew.

The Race was followed by a similar event called Oryx Quest. It was held in 2005 and had a first-place prize of what amount?

The Oryx Quest touted a purse of about $1 million, and Brian Thompson of Britain finished the race in about 62 days, far ahead of the other racers.

How much did Thompson actually receive for winning the Oryx Quest?

The race's organizers backed out of the prize money and never paid Thompson and his crew for their amazing feat. The race organizer wound up in bankruptcy.

The east-to-west transatlantic trip has a nickname that honors Christopher Columbus. What's it called?

The east-to-west transatlantic trip is sometimes called the "Road of the Discovery." Columbus, of course, was one of the first Europeans to truly explore the open seas to the west of Europe.

In 2016, who set the solo circumnavigation record?

Thomas Coville decided to go after Joyon's solo record, and he beat it. He finished the journey in just over 49 days.

By how many days did Coville beat Joyon's solo around-the-world record?

Coville crushed Joyon's record by more than eight days. He averaged about 23 knots for the trip of more than 27,300 miles.

How many times did Coville fail before finally beating Joyon's 12-year-old record?

Three times Coville failed, and he was nearly forced to retire due to boat damage and other challenges. Eventually, he triumphed and grabbed one of the sport's most daunting records.

In 2005, Olivier de Kersauson set a record of 17 days sailing around which continent?

Olivier de Kersauson needed more than 17 days to circle all the way around Australia. That's a journey of around 6,500 nautical miles.

American adventurer Steve Fossett set the solo speed record from Yokohama, Japan to San Francisco. How long did it take him to complete the trip?

Fossett set off across the Pacific alone and succeeded on his fourth try. It took him more than 20 days to finish the epic journey.

Fossett also set an amazing mark by sailing from Honolulu to Yokohama. How long did that particular trip take?

It's always harder fighting the wind. The trip from Hawaii to Japan took nearly 14 days, a journey of about 3,750 miles.

Sailors also cross the Atlantic from east to west, which means they're fighting prevailing wind patterns. What's the fastest east-west crossing ever?

The fastest crewed crossing is 6 days and 14 hours, set by Dona Bertarelli and Yann Guichard in 20 ... about 3 full days slower than the west-to-east crossing.

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Image: shutterstock

About This Quiz

Sailing is one of humankind's oldest forms of transportation. As such, it inspires many sailors to set all sorts of crazy records to prove their mettle on the high seas. How much do you know about some of sailing's most incredible feats?

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