Still averaging speeds of over 25 knots, PlayStation is still ahead of schedule to break the TransAtlantic speed record

Still averaging speeds of over 25 knots, American skipper Steve Fossett’s maxi-catamaran PlayStation and her 10-man crew remain strongly ahead of schedule to break the 11-year-old TransAtlantic sailing record held by Serge Madec on Jet Services 5 (6d 13h 3m 32s).

This (Monday) morning, 64 hours into the attempt, they were 400 nm ahead of Madec’s pace, with approximately 1180 nm to sail to the finish line at The Lizard, UK and promising weather conditions ahead.

The new 24 Hour Sailing Record set yesterday (Sunday) afternoon, has recaptured the traditional, ‘bragging rights’ first claimed by Fossett and PlayStation in March 1999 and currently held by Grant Dalton’s Club Med in 2000/2001.

Steve Fossett: “Our focus for the past two days has been on making progress on this TransAt – but getting the 24 Hour Record back from Grant is pretty nice, too. PlayStation is once again the fastest sailboat in the world.”

At 687.17 nm, PlayStation’s 24-hour run from 2200 GMT 6 October – 2200 GMT 7 October sets (pending ratification by the WSSRC) a new world record. (Dalton and crew set the current record in the Southern Ocean at 655.13nm on 7-8 February, 2001 during The RACE.)

In an e-mail to Mission Control this morning, navigator Stan Honey described weather conditions:

“We’re finally out of the Labrador current, so the boat has warmed back up and the fog has lifted. So far we are staying ahead of our gale/cold front. It is intensifying, but it has slowed down a bit. Often when boats adopt the weather strategy that we are using (trying to cross the Atlantic preceding a cold front) the front goes stationary just before the English Channel, and a potentially good passage goes to rot right at the end in light air.

“This could of course still happen to us, but the pattern looks pretty good (ie just progressive enough) so that we might carry our breeze to the English Channel.

“Saturday, when we passed Sable Island, we went close to two oil platforms. Both platforms warned us of the incoming 50-knot gale, and were surprised to hear that we were out there precisely because of the incoming gale, although we were not intending to stick around to see the centre of it.”