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Sunday, 31 March, 2002, 14:13 GMT 15:13 UK
Powerboat crew begin record attempt
Spirit of Cardiff
The Spirit was designed as a record-breaking boat
A four-man crew has left Cardiff in its attempt to set a new world record for circumnavigating the globe in a 2m powerboat.

The Spirit of Cardiff is planning a voyage covering 25,000 miles and stopping at 21 countries in a 10m diesel-powered boat craft.

The team hope to beat the current record, 74 days, by completing their round-the-world challenge in just 50 days.

Transatlantic boat record
The power boat crew plan to speed round the world

Crew members skipper Alan Priddy, 48, Clive Tully, 49, Alan Carter, 48, and first mate Steve Lloyd, 48, were cheered on by more than 200 well-wishers.

Mr Tully said despite the death of the Queen Mother, it had been decided that the journey should go ahead as planned.

The record attempt is the final part of a three-year project by Offshore Expeditions team, captained by Alan Priddy, which has included setting racing records around Ireland, Britain and between New York and Cardiff.

In 2000, the crew circumnavigated the British Isles in a record five days, six hours and five minutes.

Top speed

The Spirit of Cardiff also smashed more than an hour off the Cable and Wireless Adventurer's record for the Gibraltar-Monaco passage.

In 1997, they were the first crew to cross the North Atlantic in an open inflatable boat.

Alan Priddy, skipper, Spirit of Cardiff
Project skipper, Alan Priddy

The Spirit of Cardiff, which is powered by a single Yamaha turbo-diesel engine and can reach a top speed of more than 30 knots, will head for Gibraltar after leaving Cardiff.

It will then move through the Mediterranean, stopping off for provisions and fuel more than 30 times, including visits to ports in India, Japan, Russia, America, Mexico and Canada.

Wales's First Minister Rhodri Morgan and Cardiff South and Penarth MP Alun Michael were among the onlookers who watched the craft leave.

Skipper Alan Priddy from Portsmouth said he was determined to smash the record and return safely to the bay.

"If I didn't think we could do it, we wouldn't attempt it," he said before the launch.

Queen Mother

"Britannia rules the waves and we're going to make sure that the world knows about it."

Flags on the boat were not flying - marking the death of the Queen Mother.

Mr Priddy said: "We're sad about the Queen Mother, but life goes on for us."

All other planned Easter Sunday events at Cardiff Bay, organised by Cardiff Harbour Authority, were cancelled as a mark of respect.

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