Skipper Steve FOSSETT returned to Plymouth yesterday afternoon and confirmed overnight predictions - a reasonable weather scenario is coming together for an imminent Round The World start.
Early Friday afternoon (6 February) Steve and his crew will take the big catamaran off the dock at Plymouth Yacht Haven and make the 120 mile trip to the official Round The World Record start line at Le Stiff lighthouse on the French island of Ouessant. This transit to Ouessant should take 10-12 hours - mostly heading upwind.
Their next leg will be a little longer - totalling 21,760 miles in fact: Ouessant to Ouessant, via the three capes - Cape of Good Hope, Cape Leeuwin, Cape Horn, Fossett expects to cross the start line Saturday morning - between 0300-1200 GMT.
Cheyenne's target will be the 2002 record as certified by the WSSRC (World Sailing Speed Record Council) of 64 days 8 hours 37 minutes 24 seconds - avg speed13.98 kts, set by Bruno Peyron and crew aboard the 110' catamaran Orange, see http://www.sailspeedrecords.com/ratified.html
"We're going. After waiting since the start of the year we finally have a pattern we think will work. It is not a traditional start pattern, but we expect to find our way through."
Watch Captain David SCULLY has been watching the local forecast with Steve:
"Getting to the line will be rough - we're facing headwinds of up to 50 kts. We are then expecting the wind to veer to the W / NW as we negotiate the Bay of Biscay."
Cheyenne's new navigator Adrienne CAHALAN arrived late Wednesday after a flight from her home in Sydney and has been installing herself at the nav station. Adrienne replaces Stan HONEY, whose April commitments to the new Pyewacket maxi-sled forced him to leave the RTW when the start became delayed. Thomas COVILLE - who also had to leave to return to his 2004 racing season preparations as skipper of the trimaran Sodebo - will be replaced by 29 year old Irishman Justin SLATTERY, former bowman on Newscorp in the last VOR and crewman on Nicorette's 1997 Transat monohull record.
Cheyenne's definitive RTW crew of 13 now comprises:
Steve Fossett (skipper) USA
David Scully (watch captain) USA
Brian Thompson (watch captain) GB
Adrienne Cahalan (navigator) AUS
Guillermo Altadill ESP
Mike Beasley NZL
Fraser Brown NZL
Mark Featherstone GB
Damian Foxall IRE
Nick Leggatt ZA
Paul Van Dyke USA
Jacques Vincent FRA
Justin Slattery IRE