Sunseeker’s XS2000 production raceboat rounds Britain in 39 hours, 50 minutes

At 2001 on Friday, 24 August, the Hampshire based XS Racing Team of Ian Sanderson from Lymington and Peter Dredge from Warsash, Southampton brought their 38ft Sunseeker XS2000 powerboat thundering across the finish line to knock three hours and four minutes off the World Record for powered circumnavigation of mainland Great Britain.

Their time of 39 hours and 50 minutes for the 1,440 nautical miles (1,658 statute miles) gave them an average of 36.15 knots (41.62 miles per hour) and a seventh world benchmark within four weeks of high speed motor boating, taking the KSI Perpetual Trophy and the Drambuie Norman Mackinnon Trophy for their efforts.

After a textbook start on Thursday morning, they had experienced a number of niggling but time consuming fuel system problems from the moment they turned north at Lands End, three hours into their record bid but showing remarkable resolve and no mean mechanical skills, the British men pressed on to their first re-fuelling stop in Bangor, Northern Ireland.

Already some six hours behind schedule after 448 miles, the twin Yanmar diesel-powered boat left Bangor Marina as dusk was falling and after navigator, Dredge, had decided to re-route their course outside Islay, Tiree and Skye and blasted off into the night and the Western Isles.

Five hours of punching into some enormously big seas off the north west corner of Scotland and another three hours picking their way along the north coast, they eventually turned south off John ‘O Groats and immediately, their luck changed. A flat calm North Sea allowed them to crank up their speed to better than 70 mph on the run to Peterhead in Aberdeenshire and their second re-fuelling stop.

A rapid turn round there got them on their way again and there followed a perfect run south to Lowestoft and the last stop, during which the boat rarely dropped below 65 mph. Fuelled up again at the Royal Norfolk & Suffolk Yacht Club, the crew knew that the record could be theirs and pushed harder than ever, blasting along the South Coast to arrive in Poole in good order as the sun set over what had turned into a perfect summer day.

A welcoming reception at the Sunseeker shipyard on Poole Quay saw KSI’s CEO, Ralf Tilkowski present the tired but happy crew with the trophies for fastest passage overall and fastest passage for a boat between 30-50 feet and the time recorded has been submitted to the Union International Motonautique in Monaco for official ratification as a new World Record.

The next target for the boat and crew is the fabled Honda Cowes Classic Cowes-Torquay-Cowes race which starts from Cowes on 1 September and later in that month, an attempt on the London to Monte Carlo world record.