Gino Morelli and Pete Melvin, American designers of Steve Fossett's multihulled leviathan PlayStation, have been awarded a design trophy in recognition of the boat's outstanding performance

Gino Morelli and Pete Melvin, American designers of Steve Fossett’s multihulled leviathan PlayStation, have been awarded a design trophy in recognition of the boat’s outstanding performance, recently capped by the breaking of Serge Madec’s seemingly invincible west-east record time on the 77ft Jet Sevices V, set in 1990. Other designs, such as Dennis Conner’s superb Stars & Stripes catamaran, victor in the controversial 1988 America’s Cup, have brought the duo 12 world sailing and race records.

Despite all but destroying the boat in the attempt, Madec and his crew managed to complete the course in 6d, 13h, 3m, 32s and that benchmark resisted all-comers, including PlayStation on two occasions, for over a decade. It proved third time lucky for Fossett and the crew of the 125ft catamaran. They waited nearly two months for Bob Rice to give the meteorological nod and their patience was rewarded on 10 October 2001 with a record blitz – PlayStation passed The Lizard after 4d, 17h, 28m, 6s.

Former trophy holder Gilles Ollier, designer of Jet Services V and the three 110ft catamarans that dominated The Race (including Jules Verne record holder Club Med), presented the trophy at the Paris Maritime Museum.

“Some people think or suggest that I should be sad having lost the reference time on the Atlantic,” said Ollier, “that our boats have so many times beaten and held for 13 years. Well, not at all! I am happy that it has gone to the Americans and that our rather French omnipotence in large multihull matters, has taken a beating.

“So it is with great pleasure that I present this design cup to Gino Morrelli and Pete Melvin, because the time of 4 days 17 hours and 28 mn recorded on this course is an outstanding performance. It will force us into being more imaginative in the creation of our boats, so that we can go and fetch the trophy back from the USA”.

Gino Morelli accepted the trophy and the sentiment “with great pleasure. It revives the challenge. We’ll be waiting for you in New York, the starting place of the record.