And she's off: Robert Miller's 140ft supermaxi has left New York on a transatlantic record attempt

The green light was given to Robert Miller’s brand new supermaxi Mari Cha IV this morning to set off on an attempt to recapture the transatlantic record. Racing skipper Mike Sanderson and a crew of more than 20, flush with America’s Cup sailors, took the 140ft speed machine from her berth in New York. Their goal is to beat the record of 8 days, 20 hours, 55 minutes from Ambrose Point to the Lizard.

The transatlantic record is the principal one for which this big schooner was designed; the previous Mari Cha III had it wrested from her two years ago. But to shatter the record scarcely six weeks after her launch in Cherbourg would be a breathtaking achievement.

It is also a case of Goliath setting out to slay David, and puts in perspective the feat of the current holder, Swiss sailor Bernard Stamm. In February 2001, Stamm and three mates blasted across in his Bobst Group Armor Lux, the Open 60 he had built himself. They had a shoestring budget for a boat that would comfortably fit in Mari Cha’s cockpit.

Follow Mari Cha’s progress at And here, of course.