Branson beats Atlantic speed record
Millionaire Richard Branson has
smashed the world record for the fastest crossing
of the Atlantic.
His 72-ft powerboat, the Virgin Atlantic Challenger,
reached the Bishop Rock off the Isles of Scilly
just after 1930BST.
Branson completed the voyage more than two hours
faster than the previous record-holder, the SS
United States, which has held the title since
Challenger's successful crossing came in spite
of problems with the fuel system.
voyage was closely monitored from an operation
room in London, where tension mounted as the £1.5m
powerboat headed for the finishing line at more
than 50 knots. Mr Branson's voice was relayed
over the radio, keeping the team up-to-date on
took the Challenger one hour from the finishing
line to reach the island of St Mary's, where crowds
were waiting in their hundreds in spite of the
three days at sea, Branson, the head of a multi-million-pound
airline and record empire, arrived triumphant
- before being pushed into the Atlantic by his
crew for a joke.
London the champagne flowed, but it is still not
certain whether the team will be able to claim
the Blue Riband, the trophy awarded to the American
boat in 1952.
prize currently resides in a New York maritime
museum, and the final decision on the Challenger's
claim appears to lie with the museum and trustees
of the trophy.
Global Challenger site