The Race Update - 17th October

PlayStation in the shed, and Code 1 working up

Tuesday October 17th 2000, Author: Mark Chisnell, Location: United Kingdom
While Club Med and Team Philips have been stealing the headlines for the past couple of months - though not always for the right reasons - Steve Fossett's PlayStation team has been quietly working away in the Green Marine boatyard in Southampton. They are extending the hulls from 105 feet to 125 feet, a move announced by Fossett during Cowes Week. He reckons, 'PlayStation has the largest sail area of the new breed of multi-hulls (11,631 sq ft downwind and 7,274 sq ft upwind) and therefore the most power. The longer hulls will allow us to use more of this power - especially upwind and in rough sea states - which we certainly expect to see in the Southern Ocean.'
The added length is going on both the bow and the stern. At the same time, they are also refitting the twin diesel engines that were removed for the trans-Atlantic record attempts, and fitting new trampolines. The expectation is that PlayStation should be back in the water around mid-November. She will sail and test in the Solent and English Channel before heading down to the Mediterranean for the start of The Race.

Meanwhile down in Vannes, Loïck Peyron has a team of fifteen people working on Code 1, trying to claw back some of the time deficit he has against the other good campaigns. Peyron commented, 'We cannot make up the time that we may need to fine tune a project of this scope, and as far as possible we shall be replacing the missing elements through our skill and experience.'

As mentioned in an earlier update, Peyron has chosen to shorten the transom of Code 1, relative to her sistership Club Med. And their first sails will err on the side of caution, Jean Maurel, the project leader, explained, 'The boat will carry a heavy mainsail. There is no question of taking risks.' With Club Med testing 3DL sails and PlayStation getting Cuben Fibre, the different options will be fully explored.

Loïck Peyron’s also packing a boot-warmer, 'Superfluous but not entirely useless,' says the skipper, who shows a touching concern for the comfort of his crew, 'I prefer to have fewer people on board, but I like them to be fit and well.' The number of crew Code 1 will take is still undecided, Peyron will figure it out during the sea trials. There is already a difference of opinion between the minimalist Team Philips, and the dozen or more crew who have been aboard PlayStation and Club Med - but that's what this race is all about, experimentation.

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