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EDITIONS
Sunday, 26 May, 2002, 13:11 GMT 14:11 UK
Powerboat record hopes in balance
crew of Spirit of Cardiff
The crew is now down to three members
The Spirit of Cardiff power boat team, which is attempting to smash the round the world record, has bounced back from a series of delays and disappointments to keep their goal in sight.

The crew admitted it had lost the chance of reaching Gibraltar in 50 days, but they remain just on course to break the current world record of 74 days.

Team member Clive Tully said the crew had braved some considerable setbacks along the way, including a week of terrible weather off the coast of Japan.
Alan Priddy, skipper, Spirit of Cardiff
Project skipper, Alan Priddy

The Spirit of Cardiff has passed the halfway point of its 25,000-mile voyage and Mr Tully said the prospects for breaking the record were "looking tight".

On Sunday, the powerboat spent the morning waiting to dock in Russia's Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy harbour.

On board, Mr Tully said: "The worst part has been the frustration of the delays. Going up the coast of Japan, we lost the best part of a week waiting for bad weather to clear up.

"At the moment it's still tight but it's looking possible. We're still in with a good chance.

"The bottom line is that we're determined to bring the boat back as quickly as possible."

We feel as if we're getting through the psychological barrier of the half-way point

Clive Tully, team member

Since the crew left Cardiff's Oval Basin in March for the startline at Gibraltar, they have encountered problems including 60ft waves and 40 knot winds.

The crew also had to repair the hull twice, after damage was caused by an uncharted fish farm near Malta and from debris floating in the water near Singapore.

Then the ill-fated trip suffered a further blow when on-board cameraman Alan Carter, 48, from Penarth, south Wales, left the expedition on 3 May.

But despite the problems, the team aims to make good time and arrive back in Gibraltar by 20 June - just inside the record of 74 days, 20 hours and 58 minutes set by the Cable & Wireless Adventurer in 1998.
Transatlantic boat record
The power boat has been damaged twice

Mr Tully added: "We've had high points and low points. We've done 12,300 miles and we've got 12,620 to go.

"We feel as if we're getting through the psychological barrier of the half-way point. It's going to feel a lot better."

Mr Tully also said that he and skipper Alan Priddy, 48, and first mate Steve Lloyd, 48, both from Portsmouth, were still making the most of the voyage.

It is hoped that the 2m boat, which can reach speeds of 30knots, could achieve a further record for the under-50ft class, making it the fastest, smallest boat ever to circumnavigate the world.

British record

The record attempt is the final part of a three-year project by Offshore Expeditions team, 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.

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.

See also:

20 May 01 | Wales
17 Oct 00 | Wales
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