Yacht racing billionairess Dona Bertarelli sees her team smash record for the Route of Discovery

The voyage originally completed by Christopher Columbus was covered in six days 14hrs 29mins 21secs

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The Independent Online

The record-breaking dreams of yacht racing billionairess Dona Bertarelli came true in the early European minutes of Wednesday when, as part of a 14-strong crew co-skippered by Yann Guichard, her 131-foot trimaran Spindrift 2 crossed the finish line in San Salvador.

They had knocked 20 hours, 29mins 32secs off the previous time for the Route of Discovery, set by Franck Cammas, with a new time of six days 14hrs 29mins 21secs for the voyage, named in memory of the same one originally completed by Christopher Columbus in 1492.

The theoretical distance of 3,885 nautical miles turned into 4,503 as the Spindrift crew weaved its way through any weather traps. The speed average was 24.5 knots, with a best 24-hour run of 714.4 nautical miles and a top recorded speed 46.08 knots.

The Transat Jacques Vabre fleet of doublehanders still pinned in Le Havre was due to decide on Wednesday if a departure would be possible on Thursday as waves of strong south-westerly winds continued to sweep over the north-eastern Atlantic and into Britain.

The Mini-Transat race from Douranenez has regrouped in Sada, north-east Spain, and now plans to race direct to Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe, starting on Monday, cutting out the stopover in Lanzarote, but rounding a turning mark off the Canaries to establish leg one points.   

Commenting on a tough last night, Bertarelli said: "It was marked by numerous storms. We had 30 to 35 knots all night and the sea state got worse rapidly, with troughs of five to six metres and with short and crossed waves. It was like in the Mediterranean! It was pretty exhausting."