City firm helps make a record-breaker

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THE boss of a Sheffield structural engineering firm headed to the Isle of Wight to celebrate the smashing of the world speed sailing record by the boat his business backed.

Ekspan on Brightside Lane, Attercliffe, has been a key sponsor of the British-built Vestas SailRocket 2 for the past 10 years.

The vessel made the biggest leap forward in sailing since records began when it reached 75.23 mph in Walvis Bay, Namibia, last November.

Ekspan chief executive Matthew Dronfield attended a celebration at Vestas’ research facility at Newport, Isle of Wight, alongside all the team including Paul Larsen who was responsible for piloting the boat to its landmark.

Matthew said: “We were delighted to see the record broken. In terms of its significance it is akin to Roger Bannister breaking the four minute mile.”

Ekspan sponsored the vessel’s hydrofoil, the critical design feature which enables it to retain contact with the water at very high speeds.