Forestay failure has jeopardised Steve Fossett's round the world record attempt in Cheyenne. Read his report here

Skipper Steve Fossett advised this morning that a forestay failure has occurred late last night, jeopardising Cheyenne’s round the worldrecord attempt. The stay had either disconnected or broken. The mast is still standing and no-one was injured in the incident, but Fossett is steering downwind towards Cape Town as the crew attempt to repair the situation and continue on course.

He comments: “The mast forestay is broken or otherwise disconnected. Fortunately this was discovered while preparing for a midnight gybe to the south and the rig was not lost.

“We recognize that our attempt may be finished, but the crew is gamely trying to find a solution. The mast has now been secured with spare halyards but this configuration is only strong enough for moderate downwind sailing.

“We actually cannot see the forestay because it is inside the roller foils and the furled Solent. Next step is to remove the Solent and lower the forestay/furling apparatus to the trampoline. The best case is that a fitting has come unscrewed and the forestay can be reconnected. Hope is slim.

“We are sailing downwind toward Cape Town, less than 1,000 miles away. We should know by the end of the day [today] if we must retire from the round the world record attempt.”

This incident occurred while Cheyenne and her crew of 13 were nearing the completion of day 16 and had stretched the lead to 508 miles, or about one day, over the record pace of Orange in 2002.