Gale force winds propel Fossett and his crew to the finish in the nick of time

A new Round Britain and Ireland record looks almost certain to belong PlayStation after she finished her lap at Ramsgate this morning. The World Speed Sailing Record Council timed Steve Fossett and his 13 crew across the line at 0747 GMT. Subect to checks and ratification, they will have beaten Maiden 2’s time by a slim margin of 54 minutes and 47 seconds.

Yesterday the crew had to hunt for wind in the Celtic Sea, adding miles to their shortest course by diving south. As the breeze filled in and began veering ahead of a new low pressure system, they were able to free off and, once past the Scilly Isles yesterday, they picked up speed in strengthening winds, finally gybing down-Channel before squalls of Force 8.

‘It was a fast, but difficult night,’ reports Fossett. ‘High winds and plenty of traffic out there. The crew really dug in, with everyone working on gybes (five through the night) and reefs.’

PlayStation will berth for a time in Ramsgate before returning to her UK base in Plymouth.