24 hour record attempt
Helena Darvelid at the helm
Tracy Edwards' maxi catamaran Maiden II left Newport, Rhode Island this evening on her return journey to the UK. During this passage Edwards' team will not be attempting to better the near impossible New York to Lizard record set by Steve Fossett last year, but have as their goal the 24 hour record PlayStation established last year on her extraordinary passage across the Atlantic.
Since setting a new time for the passage from Antigua to Newport, the team have been continuing the work programme on board - her giant wingmast has come out and been stripped of its blue 'Club Med' paint and been repainted as has the boom and some work has been done on the forestay.
For the last couple of days the team have been on 'Code Amber' as navigator Adrienne Cahalan has been monitoring a weather system which will provide Maiden II with the necessary conditions to make the record. In order to pick up the weather system at the right point - and to give them enough 'runway' - the 110ft cat is currently heading for a point at 38N 68W, roughly 250 miles SSE of Newport, from where the attempt will begin around noon GMT tomorrow.
Navigator Adrienne Cahalan believes that if they are to break the record it will happen during the first two days. The boat's track will be monitored at regular intervals using Inmarsat C
PlayStation's record currently stands at an impressive 687.17 miles. This equates to an average speed of 28.63 knots that must be maintained for the 24 hour period. Maiden II is more than capable of sailing at these speeds, but the deciding factor will be the weather and in particular, the waves as Maiden II's Sailing Director Tracy Edwards attests. "Steve Fossett has set a tough target to beat and effectively become the fastest yacht in the world. In addition to having the perfect wind angle and strength, you need to have a relatively flat sea. If we get these conditions, then we have the crew that can take advantage of them and break the record".
For the passage Maiden II is again being led by the trio of watch captains, Brian Thompson and Helena Darvelid and navigator Adrienne Cahalan. Also on board are Rodney Keenan, Paul Larsen, Sharon Ferris, Fraser Brown, Greg Homann, Anne Monmousseau, Christine Haffi, Ben Wood, Stan Delbarre, Lanee Butler and madfor sailing correspondent Sam Davies.
Edwards is not sailing on board as she is still in the UK finalising sponsorship for the campaign that has as its highlights a Jules Verne Trophy attempt this winter and The Race 2 a year later.
Once in to the UK, Maiden II will be berthed at Ocean Village, Southampton, but will be in London from 3-15 July, where the announcement of Maiden II's sponsorship is expected.