Yesterday American skipper Steve Fossett announced that he is targeting the biggest record in sailing - the 'Jules Verne' Round the World record for January 2004, at the helm of his maxi-catamaran.
Currently holder of 10 of the 13 fastest World Record passages in sailing (as certified by the World Sailing Speed Record Council), Fossett and his crew made sailing history in October 2001 setting a new TransAtlantic record of 4 days 17 hours - shattering the previous record by over 43 hours. Twice he has set the 24 Hour Record (1999, 2001), signifying the world's fastest sailboat.
"We are going. I regard the Round the World as the most important of all sailing records and it's the one we have never held. The time has come to get committed. I aspire to join the list of the great Jules Verne record skippers: Bruno Peyron, Olivier de Kersauson, Peter Blake and Robin Knox-Johnston."
"Cheyenne" is the new name planned for the former PlayStation. The catamaran is undergoing a refit in Norfolk, Virginia. An assault on the 24 Hour Record will be made during October with the goal of logging the first 700 mile day. The current record is 694.78 nautical miles by Maiden II in June, 2002. The round the world crew will be named in September. Final preparations will be made in southern Europe during November and December.
The Trophée Jules Verne, with the initial magical round the world target of 80 days, was established in 1992, with a start/finish line between Ushant in France and Lizard Point, Cornwall, UK. Over the past 11 years there have been 13 attempts to set this record - with just 4 successful, the current record being set by Bruno Peyron (France) and crew aboard the 110' catamaran 'Orange' in 2002 at 64 days 8 hours, 37 minutes, 24 seconds.