Another record for Fossett

PlayStation bags the Plymouth-La Rochelle record

Tuesday April 9th 2002, Author: James Boyd, Location: Transoceanic
A tired but happy Steve Fossett reported in to PlayStation's Mission Control's early this morning with the news that he and the 125ft maxi catamaran PlayStation had just set another world record for the passage from Plymouth to La Rochelle in France. The record is the seventh world sailing record Fossett and his big cat have notched up in the last 12 months, including their impressive west to east transat run.

PlayStation set a time of 16 hours 41 minutes and 40 seconds for the 355 nautical mile dash, sailing at an average speed of 21.26 knots (this is the third fastest record on the World Sailing Speed Record Council's roster), although it awaits ratification by the WSSRC.

The previous holder of this passage record was the 40ft trimaran Netergy.com Challenge (the ex- Mollymawk/MTC) - co-skippered by Ross Hobson and Pete Berry in July 2001. Berry hasn't lost his record completely - he was on board PlayStation for this latest attempt as one of the Watch Captains alongside American Dave Scully.

Fossett carried out this record with just nine crew. In addition to Berry and Scully, navigator on board was Chris Tibbs, while the crew comprised Brad Cavanagh (US), Quentin Dimmer (GB), Simon Cotter (Ire), Mark Featherstone (GB), Richard James (GB) and Dave Thompson (GB).

While there may be nothing particularly extraordinary about a 125ft catamaran beating the record set by a 40ft trimaran, PlayStation's next batch of records will be much more challenging.

Currently PlayStation is en route to Marseilles (although they may make a stop in Vilamoura, where Maiden II currently is berthed) where they will set up ready to make an attempt on the TransMed record from Marseilles to Carthage in Tunisia. Then, hot on the heels of Maiden II, they will make an attempt on the Route of Discovery record westward across the Atlantic from Cadiz to San Salvador in the Bahamas.

The current TransMed record was set by Florence Arthaud's 60ft trimaran Pierre 1er in 1991 at an average speed of 18.29 knots, while Club Med holds the Route of Discovery record with a time of 10days 14 hours and 53 minutes at an average speed of 15.23 knots.

Their program will come to a halt in June when Fossett attempts to become the first man to balloon around the world non-stop singlehanded.

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