Slowed towards the finish line

Steve Fossett and Brian Thompson report from on board PlayStation during their Route of Discovery record attempt

Sunday February 23rd 2003, Author: The one and only S Radnovsky, Location: Transoceanic
After eight days and twenty hours, and looking forward to what will be (hopefully) their last night at sea on their Route of Discovery westbound transatlantic record attempt, Steve Fossett and the crew of PlayStation spent Sunday racing through the Caribbean archipelago at over 20 kts, aiming to arrive at their Bahamian island destination of San Salvador sometime Monday morning.

Skipper Steve Steve Fossett described how it was going: "We are still making really good speed. We've been sailing in 20 kts of wind this afternoon - and keeping boatspeed above the windspeed as we sail deep angles downwind.

"As of 20z tonight we had only 267 miles to go - and two days left to complete the course. Peter Hogg is making book on our arrival - Brian guesses around 10:00z Monday - but I'll just be happy with the record. - Steve"

Navigator Brian Thompson (writing at 15:00z) continued: "We are 100nm off Turks and Caicos Islands, on port gybe and just about scraping past them on this wind angle. Later we expect a further shift to the south to let us head straight for the finish. There is a chance we will have to make a short gybe to clear the Ts and Cs, but we hope not to.

"Up ahead is a cold front almost sitting on San Salvador, and this will slow us down at the end, as the wind dies underneath this slow moving weather feature. We are already seeing a lot of squally clouds, so we may be seeing the sun for the last time this afternoon.

"Our finish time hinges on what happens under this cold front - and when we reach it.
Waves are 1.5 to 2 m, giving us some good surfs - seeing high 20s boatspeed.

"An interesting fact for all who have crossed the pond on this route: We sailed from the Canaries to the Caribbean in 6 days and 10 hours... This was to a point 150 nm N of the Virgin Islands, the equivalent distance to the crossing to Antigua. I am fairly certain no sailing vessel has done that trip faster! It is not in any way a verifiable record, but for those like me who did a 21 day crossing on my first trip, it is pretty amazing... Cheers - Brian"

Great Circle Course Distance from Start 3618.109 nm
Elapsed Time from Start 208 hrs
Club Med's June 2000 Record (the target) 254 hrs 53 mins 44 secs
Route Distance Remaining to Finish 267.721 nm
Average Course Speed from Start 17.39 kts
Ahead of Club Med Pace + 448.19 nm + 25.77 hrs
Required Average Speed Over Remaining Distance
to Break Record 5.71 kts

Feedback: Another one in the bag for Fossett? What record do you think he should attempt next?

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