A mother and two sons took to their kiteboards in the waters around the Isle of Wight at the end of June, attempting to break the World Sailing Speed Record for the fastest time around the island. The record is currently held by a large multihull, Foncia, with a time of 2 hours, 21 minutes and 25 seconds.
Five-time World Kite Race Champion Steph Bridge was joined by her two sons, Olly (18) and Guy (16), who also kitesurf professionally. The three Team Volvo sailors raced around the island at speeds of up to 30 knots, using hydrofoil kiteboards – boards that are fitted with large knife-like foils beneath them, allowing the rider to lift clearly above the water for increased speed. The 55 nautical mile trip around the coastline is treacherous and unpredictable, meaning the three had to be accompanied by three safety boats, a team of medical personnel and several kite handlers, though the event itself went off with no injuries.
Before the event, Steph emphasised the importance of making the right decisions on the day, and said: ‘If we get any of those decisions wrong, we’re going to suffer.’ There were more than a few tough calls to make while out on the water, with unhelpful winds doing their best to slow the three’s progress. Olly, however, was the only one who went awry; going towards Ryde Sands, he tried to cut through the inner channel but was caught out by an expanse of knee-deep water too shallow for the foil. This ultimately led to Guy, who saw this mistake and navigated further south, to finish with a faster time.
While they didn’t manage to beat the Foncia’s record, both Guy and Steph set two new records on the day; Guy achieved the record for the fastest single-handed sailor around the Isle of Wight (subject to ratification by the World Sailing Speed Records), with a time of 2 hours, 32 minutes and 25 seconds. Olly missed out on the record by a hair’s breadth, finishing just two seconds after his brother, achieving a time of 2 hours, 32 minutes and 27 seconds. Steph Bridges finished just over half an hour later in 3 hours, 3 minutes and 24 seconds, claiming the record for fastest female around the Isle of Wight.
The spirit of bravery and adventure shown by these three incredible kitesurfers is exactly what Volvo strive to echo in their vehicles, as Nikki Rooke, Head of Corporate Communications, Event and Sponsorship at Volvo Car UK affirms: ‘At Volvo, everything we do starts with people and that is why we are incredibly proud to support Team Bridge. Their passion for life and overwhelming desire to succeed was very clearly what drove them to achieve such great results in their attempt to kitesurf around the Isle of Wight.’
Explore the great outdoors for yourself this summer and book a test drive in the muscular and daring new Volvo XC90, available from Lancaster Reading now.