Sailing: Fossett set fair for pursuit of record

The adventurer Steve Fossett swapped ballooning for his 120-foot catamaran Cheyenne and rolled out of Plymouth yesterday afternoon in preparation for his latest round-the-world record attempt to lift the Jules Verne Trophy.

His target is the 64 days 8hr 37min 24sec set by Bruno Peyron in the 110-foot Orange. Fossett, with Britain's Brian Thompson as one of his watch leaders in a crew totalling 13, was planning to launch his sling-shot attempt in the early hours of this morning off Ushant.

"We have been on standby for nearly five weeks and have been able to put in some very useful sailing," Thompson said on the dockside yesterday. "We are not expecting a particularly fast time to the Equator and after that everything is a lottery. But this is the best opportunity we have had and there is no sign of another window for a fortnight."

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