Cheyenne, Steve Fossett's 125ft catamaran, takes detour to avoid Southern Ocean low pressure system and breaks spinnaker halyard

Although Steve Fossett and crew aboard the 125ft catamaran Cheyenne recorded another good run yesterday with 478nm, not all of it was towards their destination of Cape Horn.

A large low-pressure system forced the cat north-east which made them sacrifice nearly a day of their lead at this stage of the world speed record. The estimated lead over Orange I is now 1,815 miles. However, a report from the boat earlier today shows that in the past few hours they’ve altered course to a heading of 133 as they prepare to catch the high-pressure system which follows the low.

As well as losing valuable time, team Cheyenne had a broken spinnaker halyard to contend with which the crew reckon won’t be usable until after the Horn. Fossett commented: “The spinnaker halyard broke and this big sail was draped over the deck and being pulled into the water. ‘All hands’ managed to muscle it back on board and get it stowed below. The winds are building as our first storm front is approaching and it is too rough to send someone to the top of mast to get the halyard back in so we are done with the spinnaker. Our jibs will be our downwind headsails between here and Cape Horn.

“In addition to being slower, we also have a worse angle to the waves. Already a wave has come over the side and knocked down the helmsman Guillermo Altadill and the other crew on deck. Guillermo had the wind knocked out of him and may have bruised ribs but continues on his sailing watch. It’s dangerous on deck.

“The wind and seas will build over the next 24 hours. We will be hunkered down in survival mode until this major cold front passes over us. These are the conditions the Southern Ocean is known for.”

Fossett and crew are currently 2,833 miles north-north-westof Cape Horn at a position of 50 27.470 S-151 46.371 W.