144 Miles West Of Cape Finisterre
WSSRC Round The World Record
Sunday morning's report from Cheyenne showed the American skipper and his crew of 12 about to cross Cape Finisterre on Spain's NW corner, 5-1/2 days+ ahead of the existing record pace and only 500 miles from the finish line at Ouessant, France.
A Monday morning record finish at Ouessant is now likely.
Friday's outstanding 590 mile run has been followed by a strong 497 miles over the past 24 hours (averaging 20.7 kts) with an excellent weather prognosis for the day to come. Lighter SW winds across the Bay of Biscay today are expected to be followed by better breeze early on Monday, taking the 125' carbon composite maxi-catamaran to the official WSSRC start-finish line at Ouessant's Le Stiff lighthouse around 0900 GMT (11 am local time) - or 58 days 4 hours after their start on 7 February - over 6 days faster than Orange's 64 day 8 hour 37 min 24 sec passage (May 2002). A good portion of this gain has been made over the past week.
Steve Fossett wrote this morning:
"Directissimo" - Of all the RTW attempts we are sailing the most direct route from Equator to Ouessant. If successful, it will be about 3 days faster than the previous Equator-Ouessant segment record set by Orange at 11 days 3 hours 48 minutes.
The normal strategy is to sail downwind over the top of the central High pressure area known as the Azores High. This is a secure, but lengthy route. We have found and sailed a route taking us between a series of smaller Lows and Highs - which has required very precise routing in order to avoid both light winds and violent conditions.
Ken Campbell at Commanders Weather has directed this strategy and we are sailing it within close tolerances. With only one light air transition to make in the Bay of Biscay, it looks like this strategy will be successful. An excellent application of on-shore weather routing.
Estimated Finish time at Ouessant is now 0900 GMT (1100 French local time) on Monday. Docking at Plymouth approximately 8 hours later at 1800 English local time. ... but figure plus or minus 4 hours from these estimates. - Steve Fossett"
(" Directissimo - a technical rock climbing route term - meaning shortest route to the top)