Olympic hopeful to attempt Sailing World Record

(Posted on 18/08/14)

We are excited to share news about professional sailor and Olympic hopeful Chris Russell’s World Record attempt for ‘the longest single handed, non-stop distance sailed, unassisted in a dinghy’, which will take place throughout Wednesday 20 August and Thursday 21 August. The current world record, according to Guinness, is 282 nautical miles – Chris is aiming to sail 300 miles, under the campaign name Force300. 

Chris competes amongst the best in the World, sailing in the men’s singlehanded lightweight Olympic Laser Class category. Alongside other PR activities that Zebra has been involved with, the World Record attempt (if successful) will help towards Chris realising his long-term goal of qualifying for Rio2016. 

Chris will set off from Porth Eirias, Colwyn Bay at first light on Wednesday 20 August and plans to sail back and forth across the Irish Channel multiple times (weather permitting). Jade Paveley, motorsport driver and representative from one of the event’s sponsors North Wales Honda, will mark the occasion by ‘christening’ the boat with a bottle of champagne. Amongst the team following Chris on the sea are two sailors that compete professionally worldwide – Xavi Tous and Benjamin Wempe – and an impartial adjudicator.

Upon completion of his attempt, Chris will be celebrating his achievement at Colwyn Bay beach on Sunday 24 August 2014 at 2pm. The celebrations will run concurrently with PromXtra – which stretches across the two-mile promenade at Colwyn Bay, and had a turnout of almost 80,000 people last year. Members of the public, supporters and sponsors are encouraged to join Chris and the crew at the Force300 area of the beach on Sunday. 

Sponsors Helly Hansen and North Wales Honda will be present and Chris Russell Sailing branded merchandise on sale. There will also be a free competition to win a sailing day with Chris. Mini flags and marketing material will be distributed to children and all participants in celebration of his World Record attempt and Chris will be on-hand to meet and greet visitors.

Although he is based in Belfast and Strangford Lough is his local yacht club, Chris has taken the strategic decision to launch from Porth Eirias in Colwyn Bay because of expected weather conditions on the day. He is hoping that his decision to involve both countries in his World Record Attempt will not only bring supporters together, but also help raise awareness of sailing as a professional sport to a wider demographic. 

This will be Chris’ first ever World Record attempt and he will be documenting the build-up and the journey itself online. He will be providing live progress updates throughout the attempt via #Force300, his twitter handle @CRSailing, and the Force300 Facebook page: “Force-300-World-Record-Attempt”. Chris will need plenty of words of encouragement to help him endure the challenges faced when attempting to travel over 300 miles alone at sea, and supporters are encouraged to use these social media reaches to do just that. 

Commented Chris Russell: “I've been working closely with my physical coach, Andy Applegate of Carmichael Training Systems, to prepare for the actual length of time I'll be on the water. Sleep deprivation will be the biggest challenge physically, and we've done all we can to manage this well. With this in mind, the food stops are an essential component to the challenge because they will help keep my energy levels up. I've been working with my nutrition partner GU Energy to ensure the right nutrition supplies are provided, and I’m comfortable that fatigue will be kept to a minimum. 

 â€œI have had a lot of personal successes during my career as a sailor, but setting a World Record is a first for me. I have no doubt of my ability to complete the challenge, but the closer it gets to actually happening, the more the nerves start to creep in. Thinking about the scale of the challenge makes me feel excited and apprehensive, but I’m ready to get out on the water and sail to success!”  

For more information about Chris Russell, visit www.chrisrussellsailing.com. 

Photography by Laurence J. Clark at Castle Vision.