Steve Fossett and his 12-strong team are on target to break Round The World Sailing Record aboard the 125ft maxi cat Cheyenne tomorrow

Steve Fossett and his 12-strong team are on target to break Round The World Sailing Record aboard the 125ft maxi cat Cheyenne. They have just 612 miles to go and are expected to cross the Ushant finish line tomorrow by midday and arrive at their home base at Plymouth by the evening.

If all goes to plan they should break the speed record by six days. Their target is the (64 days 8 hours 37 minutes 24 seconds) 2002 Round The World record set by French skipper Bruno Peyron and crew on the 110ft maxi-catamaran Orange I.

With lighter south-westerly winds forecast for today and fresh westerlies expected on Monday morning, chief project meteorologist Ken Campbell of Commanders Weather was estimating Cheyenne crossing the finish line before 1200 GMT on Monday, 5 April (for a record time of less than 58 and a half days).

Talking from the boat this morning David Scully – watch captain – had this to say:

“On a fast beam reach up the Portuguese coast, crossing latitude lines we know like street signs in a familiar neighbourhood. Each watch comes down after their trick to ensure that they have reduced the distance to finish by 100 miles. We have about 750 to go.

“Later today, speed will drop as the blessed wind of the past two days eases and moves aft. Tonight we will be gybing, giving the big genaker, the Canis Major, a final chance to prove its worth as we work across Biscay in decreasing winds. But our forecasters, Commander’s Weather, assure us that a sprightly westerly is waiting for us as we approach the Iroise, and still look to see us passing le Stiff lighthouse mid-morning Monday.

“Meanwhile, Cheyenne buffets through the moderate swell like a bullet train through a pile of teddy bears. Jacques, captain of this watch, has just called for the main to go to full hoist, so I leave you for a moment.

“There, back again, slightly out of breath. Now we are at full rag. Could this be the last time we grind the first reef out, this trip? Already Justin is agitating to get the blast reacher hoisted on its furler, ready for instant use when the opportunity presents. It has been hooked up and ready to go for 12 hours now.

“The puffs are getting weaker as I write, and Cheyenne’s bows are starting to tunnel through the backs of the waves, rather than surfing over the crests and down into the troughs. There is definitely a feeling that we are warming up for the sprint to the finish, le dernier attaque! Justin has just made a futile attempt to spin Ado and I off the grinder handles. No lack of energy there! We are not counting our chickens before they are actually in the barn. The plan is still to make best time to a waypoint to weather of the finish, so that if the rig goes over, we will be able to drift across with the forecast westerly.

I have been reading OdsK’s reports from the southern ocean, and in doing so, realize that I may have let you down, my readers, in the limited degree of misery and melodrama I have included in my reports. Now, those guys are having a rough time! Still and in spite of suffering thru storms and fending off icebergs, they seem to be doing some nice numbers on their daily runs. The next adventure for us will be seeing how long we get to hang on to our anticipated record.”