This afternoon Steve Fossett's giant catamaran broke the Cowes-St Malo World Speed Sailing Record

PlayStationbreaks Cowes – St Malo speed record

Steve Fossett’s maxi-catamaranPlayStationtoday broke the Cowes to St Malo World Speed Sailing record taking twenty-six minutes from the previous record held by Tracy Edwards and her all-female crew aboardRoyal & SunAlliance.

At an average speed of 21 knots the 125 foot giant took six hours and twenty-one minutes to race the 138nm course across the channel making this her fourth world speed record in the space of two months.

In OctoberPlayStationand her crew broke the 24 hour speed record as well as the west to east transatlantic record in the unbelievable time of four days seventeen hours and twenty-eight minutes. Then in November they took the Round the Island record smashing the previous record by nearly half an hour, an incredible achievement on such a short course. During this successful attemptPlayStationhit a top speed of 38.8 Knots.

Fossett had been planning on trying for the Fastnet record on Sunday currently held by the trimaranFujifilmbut a change in the weather foiled that plan “Manic weather. The trough is failing to advance toward Ireland so the necessary windshift to SW for us to sail back from Ireland is no longer in the forecast. Instead we have a meandering High whose shape changes easily. In fact we could get a proper wind direction (SE) for the Cowes-St Malo about Monday or so..” (Friday 7th Dec

Crew members for this record included Helena Darvelid who was aboardRoyal & SunAlliancefor the previous record andKingfisherco-skipper Nick Moloney who had been aboardPlayStationfor Bruno Peyron’s ‘The Race’ which didn’t go quite as smoothly.

Also aboard was British multihull sailor and principlePlayStationHelmsman Brian Thompson who re-joined the team fresh from the Transat 6,50 (a single-handed transatlantic race in 21 foot monohulls). Thompson, a key part of the team since her first conception was happy to be part ofPlayStation’s”vindication” run of recent record-breaking after she was previously criticised for being no good. (“too heavy, had too much beam, did not have the finesse of the Ollier cats”) and various problems forced her to retire from The Race. “It was very cold and wet, but great fun” said a very cheerful sounding Thompson after today’s record-breaking sail.

PlayStationturned around at St Malo and is now heading back to Southampton where they expect to be back before midnight tonight.

Nathalie Le Pen