The round the world record adventure for American skipper Steve FOSSETT and his 12 person crew aboard the 125' maxi-catamaran 'Cheyenne' began this morning off the French island of Ouessant (Ushant).
After a hard-fought night in the English Channel, they sped south and passed the official observer of the World Sailing Speed Record Council (www.sailspeedrecords.com) at 05:10 and 35 secs GMT. They hope to pass him again (northbound this time) in less than 9 weeks time as they target the 2002 official RTW sailing record of Bruno PEYRON(FRA) and the 110' maxi-cat 'Orange' of 64 days, 8 hrs, 37 mins, 24 secs (avg speed 13.98 kts). The record course length is 21,760 nautical miles, with actual sailing miles covered expected to exceed 26,000.
Steve FOSSETT reported early this morning:
"We crossed the line at Ouessant Island at 5:10 and 35 seconds. It wasn't even easy to get to the start from Plymouth. We sailed upwind overnight with windspeeds up to 46 knots with gusts to 59 knots.
The official observer from WSSRC told us that in order to break the record of Orange we need to finish by April 11 13:46 and 59 seconds. That's a reminder that it is a long way around the planet."
Former record-holder Olivier de KERSAUSON(FRA) and his 110' trimaran 'Geronimo' are fully stocked and are expected to leave imminently from their base in nearby Brest. Peyron and his brand new 120' 'Orange' are also nearly ready to start, so it promises to be a banner year for this daunting challenge. With French solo sailor Francis Joyon's stunning solo RTW just completed in under 73 days, the standard of achievement for this year is already especially high.
All of Fossett's adventure challenges are supported by Michelob ULTRA, the new low-carbohydrate premium beer from Anheuser-Busch, the world's largest brewer.
Full position reports are available on the event website at the address below.