Steve Fossett and the mighty Playstation broke yet another record Monday, December 10th, sprinting across the English Channel from Cowes to St. Malo in 6 hours, 21 minutes, 44 seconds. This new time beats the old record, set by Tracy Edwards on Royal & Sun Alliance, by 27 minutes and qualifies Playstation as the first holder of the freshly minted Channel Record Trophy.
This is the fifth–Miami-New York, the Transatlantic, 24-hour, and Around the Isle of Wight being the other four–record that the 125-foot catamaran has set this year, and there may be more on the horizon. The Marseille-Alexandria, the Route du Discovery, and the Cape Town to Rio records are all being considered, as well as a shot at the Jules Verne. “I believe the three most important sailing records are the round the world record (Jules Verne), the transatlantic and the 24 hours,” said Fossett. “In that order.” With two out of three in the bag, he may not be able to resist the temptation.
As Fossett is keenly aware, other big, fast multihulls are poised to take center stage. The 110-foot catamaran Orange, the boat that Loick Peyron skippered into second place in The Race as Innovation Explorer, is preparing for an attempt on the Jules Verne, with crew briefed to be ready for a possible February attempt.
Orange, now in the hands of Loick’s brother, Bruno, the first skipper to break the 80-day around the world mark in 1993, has called the attempt only the “first phase of the project.” The next stage will be a giant multihull, aimed straight at The Race, 2004 edition.
Another major multihull lurking in the wings is Olivier de Kersausons trimaran, Geronimo, which has recently completed over 40 days and 7000 miles of sea trials. The 111-foot tri never saw any more than 30-knots of breeze and suffered only minor damage to the top of the mast during the trials. According to the syndicates website, the rig “took a few degrees of freedom above the shroud reeves.” de Kersauson has stated that he believes that Geronimo can circle the globe in 55 days. de Kersauson is the holder of the present Jules Verne record, 71 days, set in 1997 aboard Sport Elec as well as 20 other records, most set in the high latitudes of the Southern Hemisphere. According to de Kersausons website, Geronimo will also attempt the New York-Lizard Point, Cadiz-San Salvador, Transpac, New York San Francisco records as well as others.
Monohull fans need not fret, their savior may be Mari-Cha V. Stay tuned.
Average speed for 1997 Jules Verne: 12.66 knots
Average speed for The Race winner Grant Dalton on Club Med, 2001: 15.58 knots
Average speed for Robin Knox-Johnston on Suhali, first singlehanded, non-stop around the world, 1968-1969: 4.02 knots
Highest recorded speed under sail, set by Yellow Pages Endeavour in 1993: 46.42 knots
Fastest craft around the world, NASA’s space shuttle: Mach 25, approximately 90 minutes per circumnavigation.