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PlayStation Catamaran Suffers Setback

LOCAL NOTES

January 03, 2001|MARTIN BECK

PlayStation, the 125-foot catamaran designed in Orange County that started a non-stop race around the world Sunday, suffered a serious blow Tuesday when skipper Steve Fossett announced that two sails--including the main--had ripped and that the boat would have to pull into port at Gibraltar for repairs.

Because of the pit stop, a 48-hour penalty will be assessed in the Race of the Millennium that started in Barcelona, Spain, on New Year's Eve. PlayStation was in second place, 23 miles behind 110-foot Team Adventure, before Fossett's announcement.

The PlayStation crew, which includes co-designer Gino Morrelli of Tustin, had to repair damage to the solent jib, a smaller sail that hangs in front of the 147-foot mast, late Sunday night. Tuesday morning, the clew that attaches the mainsail to the end of the boom tore out.

"We were sailing upwind in 27 knots of wind when the clew in main gave way," Fossett said in a statement on his Web site, http://www.fossettchallenge.com. "It is very disappointing, of course, to have two sail failures on a new set of sails."

PlayStation's container with spare sails--including its original mainsail that has traveled 15,000 nautical miles--are expected to reach Gibraltar today.

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