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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 January, 2004, 15:31 GMT
Fossett tackles Jules Verne record
Steve Fossett
Steve Fossett hopes to shave four days off the current world record
An adventurer known for his record attempts is in the South West preparing to sail around the world.

Balloonist Steve Fossett is hoping to break the Jules Verne record in his 125-foot catamaran, the Cheyenne.

He is aiming to slash the record to circumnavigate the globe which stands at 64 days and eight hours and was set two years ago.

Mr Fossett and his 12-strong crew are currently making preparations in Plymouth Sound.

Weather permitting, they will begin their record attempt later this month from the start-finish line which stretches from the island of Ushant in northern France to the Lizard Point in Cornwall.

The catamaran Cheyenne
Catamaran Cheyenne will be travelling at 25 knots
The American hit the headlines 18 months ago when he managed to fly a hot air balloon around the world by himself in 16 days.

Speed sailing is his speciality, however, and he has already set more than 20 world records in this field.

Now Mr Fossett is attempting the Jules Verne record, so-called after Verne's famous novel, Around the World in Eighty Days.

The millionaire skipper hopes to complete the journey in 60 days, taking the boat at about 25 knots through some treacherous weather conditions.

But Mr Fossett is realistic about his chances of success.

'Not confident'

"I am not confident at all," he said.

"In fact, half of the boats who have attempted to break the around-the-world record have had gear failure and been unable to complete the trip.

"The first problem is getting the boat to hold up.

"Then we have to sail well enough and have the proper weather so we can actually break the record if we do make it all the way round."

The crew are now waiting for the right weather to arrive.

Watch skipper David Scully said: "We'd like to see a well-developed high in the middle of the Atlantic to give us a strong, northerly wind to take us as far south as we can possibly get before we step into the trade winds."

The BBC's Lucie Fisher
"Steve Fossett and his team stand as good a chance as any of breaking the record"

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