Cardiff makes bid to rule the waves

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The Independent Travel

A Record-Breaking inflatable powerboat called the Spirit of Cardiff is set to become one of the hottest attractions in the Welsh capital, with the official launch of a centre dedicated to it on Thursday, writes Clive Tully.

A Record-Breaking inflatable powerboat called the Spirit of Cardiff is set to become one of the hottest attractions in the Welsh capital, with the official launch of a centre dedicated to it on Thursday, writes Clive Tully.

Based in the Tube - the Riba gold medal-winning, space-age building on Cardiff Bay that serves as the city's official visitor centre - it notched up more than 30,000 visitors in the first month it was open earlier this summer. That number rose to 49,000 in August.

The Spirit of Cardiff is due to try to break the round-the-world record in 2002, aiming to demolish the reigning Cable and Wireless Adventurer's 74-day record by three weeks. Last month, it broke the record for the fastest passage from Gibraltar to Monaco.

Following major investment, the Spirit of Cardiff Visitor and Education Centre has been completely remodelled to explain the round-the-world trip.

While the boat itself will not be on display, due to its sheer size, the centrepiece will be the engine and gearbox that will be fitted for its record-breaking odyssey. Other exhibits will include a mock-up of the cabin where the crew of four will live for almost two months, electronic navigation equipment and web-linked computers, and illustrations showing the route that the boat will take.

The centre will become the operation's nerve centre during the voyage, from where visitors will be able to send messages to the crew. (Visit www.spirit-of-cardiff.com.)

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