Richard Branson and Team Origin to attempt Atlantic crossing in record time onboard Virgin Money

Sir Richard Branson, founder of The Virgin Group, will this week join America’s Cup Challenger, TEAMORIGIN in an attempt to break the transatlantic record, which currently stands at 6 days, 17 hrs, 52 minutes and 39 seconds, and become the fastest mono-hull sailing yacht to cross the Atlantic.

The partnership with TEAMORIGIN is the second major sponsorship for the Virgin Money credit card business in recent months, following the announcement that it is to take over sponsorship of the London Marathon in 2010 in a deal worth over £17 million over five years.

Veteran adventurer Branson has made a number of world record-breaking attempts since 1985. In 1986 Branson crossed the Atlantic in the fastest ever recorded time on board the powerboat “Virgin Atlantic Challenger II”. This latest attempt will be the first time he is joined by children, 26 year old Holly and 23 year old Sam, both competent sailors. As a qualified Doctor, Holly will also take on the role of medic onboard.

Team Origin is currently in training for this event, participating in the iShares Cup Extreme 40 series and fine-tuning the design of the 99ft Super Maxi yacht Virgin Money.

Virgin Money was launched in April 2008 and competed in its first event, the Newport to Bermuda race in June 2008 where it took line honours. In this new record attempt the yacht will set off from the Ambrose Lighthouse (just out of New York) and sail to Lizard Point, the most South West point of the UK.

Richard commented: “It is real privilege to set sail with such an able and experienced crew as Team Origin and I’m also thrilled that Holly and Sam have the opportunity to share the experience. The support of Jayne Anne and the Virgin Money team has been crucial in making this record attempt happen and we’re all hoping we can add to the recent successes of British sailing. I’m also delighted to be taking on another record attempt – ten years has been too long!”

Sir Keith Mills, Team Principal of Team Origin added: “We are very excited to be teaming up with Virgin Money and Richard. This is a great opportunity to showcase Britain’s America’s Cup team with some of our best sailors and a boat designed by Juan Kouyoumidjian, the team’s Principal Designer”.