Sailing: Edwards skims to Channel record

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Britain's Tracy Edwards and the all-female crew of the giant 92ft catamaran Royal & Sun Alliance yesterday broke the record for crossing the English Channel by 45 minutes.

Averaging 22.7 knots, Edwards' boat completed the crossing from Cowes to St Malo in 6hr 49min 19sec, well inside the record of 7:34:54 set by the Frenchman Laurent Bourgnon in the trimaran Primagaz.

In fresh northerly winds, the catamaran more than justified its claim to being the world's fastest racing yacht, giving Edwards and her crew timely encouragement for their attempt at the non-stop round-the-world record, scheduled to start in December. This record is held by another Frenchman, Olivier de Kersauson, with a time of 71 days 14hr 22min.

The Anglo-French pairing of Pete Goss and Raphael Dinelli were yesterday lying third after the first 48 storm-lashed hours of the Jacques Vabre two-handed transatlantic race from Le Havre to Cartagena, Colombia.