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The sail of the centuries

October 21, 2003|John Balzar

The new 140-foot super-maxi Mari Cha IV shattered the speed record for crossing the Atlantic west to east -- and became the first monohull sailboat to travel more than 500 miles in a day. "Incredible," said owner Robert Miller, the Hong Kong billionaire who has sights on "attempting every record in the book."

Previously, the fastest monohull crossing from Ambrose Lighthouse off New York to England's Lizard Point was eight days, 20 hours and 55 minutes, sailed in 2001. Miller's twin-masted ultralight rocket shaved two days off that, crossing the finish line in six days, 17 hours and 52 minutes.

Along the way, Mari Cha IV averaged better than 21 knots around the clock during one 24-hour period, logging 525 nautical miles -- 41 miles more than the previous one-day record for a single-hull sailboat. A future record Miller wants the ship to set: to be the first monohull to sail around the world in 80 days or less.

-- John Balzar

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