Transmed record falls

Steve Fossett now holds some of the most impressive records in yachting

Friday May 24th 2002, Author: James Boyd, Location: Mediterranean
Steve Fossett has added another, and this time a more significant, record to his trophy cabinet. This TransMed record between Marseilles in the south of France and Carthage in Tunisia has been held since August 1991 by Florence Arthaud's Pierre 1er).

"We finished at 09:45 GMT this morning for a time of 18h 46m 55s - an average speed of 24.38 kts. The previous record by Florence Arthaud was 22h 9m 56s for average of 20.66 kts," commented Fossett. This was Fossett's second attempt on this record. Over 4-5 May they made the passage, but fell two hours short of the record. a new weather opportunity to 'sail the Mistral' emerged earlier this week - and Steve quickly put out the call to his crew of 12 to reach La Ciotat by Thursday. Yesterday they crossed the start line at 14:58:46 GMT.

"It was extraordinary sailing - and a hard working trip - with 25 sail changes. Everyone did a great job - and our two newest crew members Howie Hamlin and Trevor Baylis - who are current world champions in 18ft Skiffs - proved to be hot sailors."

The 125ft Morrelli/Melvin-designed catamaran is now en route back to Marseilles and the shipyard at La Ciotat. It is unlikely that Fossett will make another record attempt in the next few weeks as the window for his solo round the world ballooning voyage opens on 5 June.

Meanwhile Giovanni Soldini's trimaran TIM was forced to retire last night at midnight GMT, 245 miles into their attempt while off the west coast of Sardinia. At the time he wasa two hours ahead of the record averaging a speed of 24.5 knots, peaking at 35. when she experienced structural problems on one of her forward beams.

"We were sailing at a speed of 27.6 knots when we heard a bang," said Giovanni. After a quick check we found out a break in one of the cross-beams. There's really nothing too serious about it, but we didn't want to take any risks. It's a pity, because we were going well and weather forecast was good".

Meanwhile Fossett's new record now is awaiting ratification from the WSSRC. He now holds nine out of 10 of the fastest 'outright' sailing records, including the six fastest.

PlayStation's TransMed record crew:

Steve Fossett (USA) Skipper & Watch Captain
Chris Tibbs (GB) Navigator
Dave Scully (USA) Watch Captain
Trevor Baylis (CAN) Watch Captain
Quentin Dimmer (GB) Crew
Pete Berry (GB) Crew
Brad Cavanagh (USA) Crew
Richard James (AU) Crew
Dave Thompson (GB) Crew
Simon Cotter (IRE) Crew
Claire Bailey (GB) Crew
Howie Hamlin (USA) Crew
Mark Featherstone (GB) Crew

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