Having set the 24-hour world endurance record for powerboats in Dubai earlier this year, the Sunseeker XS Racing Team is in action, hoping to raise that record still further

The flag has fallen on the start of the latest attempt on the 24-hour world endurance record for powerboats. With project weather consultant, Norman Lynagh, giving a cautious thumbs up, the XS Racing team of Ian Sanderson, from Lymington, and Peter Dredge, from Locks Heath, are now several hours into what is acknowledged to be one of the toughest challenges for man and boat – the 24-hour endurance record.

No-one knows the challenge that lies ahead better than Sanderson and Dredge, who endured horrendous weather in Dubai in January of this year, where they established six and 24-hour records but well below the capabilities of their 900hp production Sunseeker XS2000 powerboat. They have been waiting to get the perfect window for their latest run, which is now scheduled to start at 0900 today from Yarmouth, Isle Of Wight.

The final day’s preparation for throttleman Sanderson and helmsman/navigator, Dredge included a taxing programme of running and rowing in the gym and some time afloat in the Solent, putting the final touches to the 70-knot boat for the record run. Technical preparation of the Yanmar turbo-diesel powered 38ft Buzzi designed Sunseeker XS2000 is in the hands of Simon Wood-Power, who combines the role of crew chief with reserve driver, if the physical attrition rate becomes extreme – as it might well do – if the weather fails to live up to Lynagh’s predictions.

“We were quite disappointed not to be able to put more than 636 miles into our first run in January but we are quite clear about this attempt. One thousand miles in 24 hours is a worthy target and quite attainable with a good break on the met front”, says Sanderson, whose motor racing and powerboating experience have come together in the formation of Sunseeker XS Racing, the company providing the XS2000 for the purpose.

“Next year, we are introducing the worlds first cost-capped offshore racing programme with a fleet of 20 XS2000 boats so this clutch of records – 6, 12, 18 and 24-hour – and the Round Britain and London-Monte Carlo attempts that follow it, are just another part of the evaluation and testing process. It’s difficult to envisage a harder test than running these three record attempts virtually back to back but it is the only way to prove the boat and engineering”, says Sanderson.

Peter Dredge, the RYA’s Powerboat and Motor Cruising Manager and a multiple World offshore racing champion, is the more experienced of the duo and has taken on the role of strategist and helmsman/navigator for the record runs. “Breaking endurance records is very different from racing. Races rarely last for more than two hours but after two hours of this challenge, we are only just getting it all shaken down. After that, it just gets harder”, says Dredge, who has been converting fat to muscle in a diet-controlled build up over the past eight months.