PlayStation has been souped-up once again to her awesome best and Fossett has circled 1 April as the beginning of his assault on the world’s speed records
After her disappointing early exit from The Race with daggerboard and sail problems, serial record breaker and skipper Steve Fossett took his 125ft Morelli/Melvin catamaran to Miami to lick her wounds and receive a few more minor modifications while the crew got over the anti-climax of their Race. Meanwhile her wardrobe of massive cuben fibre sails was carted off to the nearest loft for repairs and a serious amount of strengthening at the tack and clew.
Those sails are now back onboard and PlayStation is in Palm Beach, tugging at her lines like a young lamb, eager to stretch her elongated legs on the world’s oceans. Fossett has instructed his crew to assemble, in record-breaking mood, on 1 April. They will set out for a few days’ sea trials before making an attempt on the Miami-New York record currently held by Cam Lewis and Bruno Peyron onboard Explorer, set in 2 June 1999, and standing at two days, 22 hours, 50 minutes and 16 seconds.
After a few big nights of celebration or commiseration in the Big Apple, she will stand by waiting for the green light from PlayStation’s weather router Bob Rice to attack the holy grail of all speed record sailors: the New York-Lizard record. This is the record everyone wants to beat. It was set in stunning and almost completely destructive fashion by Serge Madec and the crew of Jet Services V (later extended to become Explorer) in 1990 and still stands – despite all-comers – at six days, 13 hours, 13 minutes and 32 seconds.
Bernard Stamm’s Open 60 Armor Lux recently broke the crewed monohull record on this route so perhaps Fossett feels destiny at hand. Whether he makes it or not, he has planned a schedule of European record breaking before having another crack at the pond, westwards this time, later this year.
Much of the regular crew is still together, including Fossett himself, navigator Stan Honey, Ben Wright, Damian Foxall, Peter Hogg, Gino Morelli, Dave Scully and Brian Thompson. They will be joined by Morelli’s co-designer and catamaran world champion Pete Melvin, Germany’s Tornado world champion and Olympic medallist Roland Gaebler, recent Vendée finisher and solo specialist Thomas Coville, Sean Biddulph and AN Other, yet to be confirmed.
Click here for Steve Fossett’s website.