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Sunday, 15 September, 2002, 09:31 GMT 10:31 UK
Powerboat bids for historic record
Spirit of Cardiff
The Spirit of Cardiff aims to set a new world record
The powerboat Spirit of Cardiff is to embark on the final phase of a troubled attempt to break into the record books for sailing around the world.

Skipper Alan Priddy and his crew have failed to beat the overall powerboat record for the 25,000 mile journey, after being dogged by argument, illness and bad weather.

Alan Priddy, team leader
Alan Priddy: 'Final chapter'

So now the 2m Spirit of Cardiff is seeking to sail into history by establishing a new record for powerboats in the 50 foot class.

On Sunday, Priddy, 48, from Portsmouth, and two crew members are to resume the delayed journey from Newfoundland in Canada to Cardiff, where they hope to arrive on 28 September.

Originally a four-man team, the boat left from the Welsh capital on 31 March before the record attempt began in earnest at Gibraltar on 7 April.

But crew member Alan Carter, 48, from Penarth, left the expedition just over a month into the voyage when the boat reached Singapore.

Then a second crew member, Steve Lloyd, 48, from Portsmouth, pulled out earlier this summer after suffering heart problems 350 miles offshore from Newfoundland.

Now remaining crew member Clive Tully, a reporter aged 49, from Norwich, will be joined by Dr Jan Falkowski, who was originally set to be second-in-command, but was forced to drop out three weeks before the boat originally left Cardiff.

Spirit of Cardiff's 2002 log
31 March: Boat leaves Cardiff
7 April: Crew sails from Gibraltar
3 May: Alan Carter pulls out
Early summer: Steve Lloyd suffers heart problems
22 June: Crew fails to beat overall record
15 September: Boat due to leave Newfoundland
28 September: Boat scheduled to reach Cardiff
As he prepared to leave, Mr Priddy said: "I am really looking forward to closing the final chapter and arriving in Cardiff."

The boat will sail from St John's Harbour, Newfoundland, to Horta in the Azores and from there to Gibraltar - a total distance of 2,300 nautical miles - before heading back to Cardiff.

The voyage so far has been beset by difficulties including a week of terrible weather off the coast of Japan, when the boat ploughed through 60ft waves and 40-knot winds.

By June, the boat had failed to break the 74 day record held by the Cable & Wireless Adventurer in 1998.

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.

A propeller was lost in the Malacca Strait near Singapore; the boat was nearly mown down by a cargo ship while disabled; and the crew's supplies were stolen in India.

The crewmen stayed in touch with friends and fans via e-mail, using a satellite phone and the progress of the boat was logged on a website.

As the voyage continued, the bitterness onboard spilled out onto the website and around the time of Carter's departure, there was a telling entry from Captain Priddy.

Transatlantic boat record
The powerboat's voyage has suffered many setbacks

He wrote: "Upon our arrival in Mangalore, India, it came as a major shock to discover from our hosts that the Indian immigration authorities had told them one of the Spirit of Cardiff's crew members was looking for an exit visa."

But throughout the journey, crew members never failed to answer a flood of e-mails from concerned enthusiasts in the UK.

The record attempt is the final part of a three-year project by Offshore Expeditions, 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, the boat's crew was the first to cross the North Atlantic in an open inflatable boat.

See also:

22 Jun 02 | Wales
20 May 01 | Wales
17 Oct 00 | Wales
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