Record in the balance

As PlayStation loses the breeze crossing Celtic Sea

Thursday October 24th 2002, Author: James Boyd, Location: United Kingdom
At present PlayStation is three quarters of the way into her attempt to break Maiden 2's record for sailing non-stop around the British Isles, but this evening there was a blow to their progress when they were becalmed while crossing the Celtic Sea en route to the Bishop's Rock. Thankfully a light breeze returned later in the evening and PlayStation were on their way again, but it will be interesting to see if the giant cat has enough in the bank to break the record.

"The Low pressure system we were sailing on has left the area," described skipper Steve Fossett. "We are stuck in a high pressure ridge of slack winds until the next low approaches. We are sailing slowly south in hopes of reaching the wind sooner. If the new low arrives early enough Thursday, we'll be fine - if it doesn't, we're not going to get this record back this time."

Other minor problems have also struck: "About the time we started worrying about the loss of wind, a succession of minor problems arose,"continued Fossett. "The genniker sheet broke, we snagged some commercial fishing gear - and even the head broke! The crew easily fixed all these problems, although the fishing lines we were unable to cut away have now jammed our starboard daggarboard in the up positon - but this is not of concern."

This evening the weather charts show an almost complete lack of gradient wind over the Celtic Sea. Tomorrow by 0600 this will be replaced by a light 10 knot southeasterly - so headwinds until they reach Bishop's Rock. Once round the Scillies PlayStation should be on a tight reach with the wind picking up to around 15 knots and backing to the southwest by Friday morning.

PlayStation must reach Ramsgate by 08:44 GMT on Friday in order to break Maiden 2's record for the 1790 mile course.

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