BALLYHOLME Yacht Club was the start point for a record-breaking trip across the North Channel to Portpatrick in Scotland earlier this week.

    Team GB Olympic silver medallists and World and European champions John Gimson and Anna Burnett bettered the previous record of 1 hour, 41 minutes and 28 seconds with their effort of 1:30:24 in the Olympic Foiling Nacra17, and it is hoped the feat will now be acknowledged by the Guiness Book of Records.

    The record attempt was in association with Artemis Technologies, a company based in Belfast who are applying spin off technologies from the Artemis Racing America’s Cup team with a mission to help deliver a sustainable maritime future. Gimson and Burnett arrived at the Bangor club on Sunday evening before tackling the complex challenge on Tuesday afternoon.

    The existing record for the crossing, which is made more complicated and dangerous by strong tidal influences on both sides of the channel, creating steep, difficult wave formations, had been held since 1995 by Ian Wilson and the late Johnny Mullan of Ballyholme Yacht Club in a Tornado catamaran. Ballyholme’s Richard Swanston, meanwhile, holds the single-handed record of 1 hour 50 minutes. 

    The family of the late Bill Wallace, a yachtsman from Dorset who crossed the Atlantic Ocean alone in a 22-foot sailboat, donated the trophy for the crossing.