mad with records

James Boyd looks at the 'excess records' problem and Bruno Peyron's proposed solutions we seem to have become over the last few months, a sign of what is becoming a major trend in offshore performance yachting. but is the bubble close to bursting? During this period we have seen Steve Fossett's impressive demolition of the west to east transatlantic record and the outright 24 hour record. Fossett has also added to his collection the round the island record, the Fastnet, the Cowes-St Malo record, the well known Plymouth to La Rochelle record and most recently the Transmed...the list is endless. Currently the Chicago billionaire is the holder of nine out of 10 of the fastest outright sailing records, including the six fastest. No doubt his collection of world sailing records will swell further before the year is out. More recently there has been illbruck's impressive 484 mile run in the Volvo Ocean Race, the new benchmark for the world monohull 24 hour record and the aborted attempt of Sean Langman's Open 60 Grundig in the southern hemisphere. So the recent spate of record breaking is not all in the realm of the big cats. "We've done more work by the middle of June than we did by in the whole of last year," madfor sailing was told recently by a distinctly harrassed John Reed, Secretary to the World Speed Sailing Record Council. So why is this happening? Part of the reason is the quantum leap in the performance of boats over the last few years. Today there are more sailing yachts in existence built simply to go fast rather than being built to a rule allowing them to race. In the world of monohulls, there is the Open 60 class and the giant maxis such as Mari Cha IV and Stealth - all have increased the performance envelope. But the quantum leap in