Nigel Irens-designed trimaran motors round the world in 75 days

Cable & Wireless, the 115ft Nigel Irens-designed trimaran, has broken the powerboat round the world record, returning to Gibraltar in 74 days 20 hours and 58 minutes. The previous record beats that of nuclear submarine USS Triton, which girdled the world underwater, by more than eight days.

The eastabout route round the world by the British challenger had 15 short stops for refuelling and reprovisioning and took the boat and her crew through the Suez and Panama Canals. Powered by two 350hp Cummins diesels, Cable & Wireless encountered few setbacks en route, the most serious of which were an overheating shaft bearing between Hong Kong and Yokohama, damage after a collision with a submerged object after leaving the Caribbean and another overheating shaft bearing on the final leg to Gibraltar. All were overcome by the crew, some of whom were paying amateurs.

The record only once looked in doubt, when adverse weather conditions on the final leg slowed the boat’s progress. That made it necessary to alter course for the Azores, hastily arrange another last-minute stopover, and take on more fuel.

But as a new record is established, the question is now, for how much longer? Other challengers squaring up for a crack at it include Global Victor, a 23m motor catamaran is building, due to set off from San Diego next March, under the direction of American Sid Stapleton. A French challenger is also preparing, as is a converted Malaysian catamaran ferry.