DANISH FERRY SETS NEW ATLANTIC CROSSING RECORD
Cat-Link V - New York to Bishop Rock 2 days, 20 hrs 9 mins = Average 41.284 knots
Barely six weeks after the Buquebus fast ferry, the CATALONIA, set a world speed record for crossing the Atlantic Ocean, the record was shattered by the Danish fast ferry CAT-LINK V. The CAT-LINK V completed the crossing at world record speed despite a delay of more than two hours to take part in a search and rescue operation.
CAT-LINK V, a 91.3 meter (300 feet) car and passenger double-hulled catamaran ferry with four diesel engines generating 34,000 horsepower, crossed the Atlantic from New York to Bishop Rock outside Southampton, Britain, in two days, 20 hours and nine minutes -- the first such voyage in under three days.
The 500 deadweight ton vessel's average speed was 41.284 nautical miles per hour (knots). The previous record of 38.877 knots was held by Spanish-registered CATALONIA. Both fast ferries were built by Incat of Australia.
On Saturday night, CAT-LINK V and other vessels in the area received a call from the rescue coordination center in Halifax, Canada to search for a ditched single-engine aircraft, which had sent out a May-Day signal during a westward cross-Atlantic flight. A rescue plane spotted debris some 30 nautical miles behind the CAT-LINK V. The CAT-LINK V was asked to turned around - towards New York - and proceed immediately to the area. CAT-LINK V found wreckage and took it on board, but no survivors.
During its crossing, CAT-LINK V set a second world record, covering 1,018.2 nautical miles in 24 hours, beating the Catalonia's record of 1015 nautical miles set 8-9 June 1998. The Catalonia had broken the record of 868 nautical miles set by the SS UNITED STATES over the period 6-7 July 1952.
CAT-LINK V, with capacity for 800 passengers and 200 cars, will be put on a regular route between the Danish ports of Kalundborg and Aarhus -- a ferry route vying for traffic between eastern and western Denmark with the new Great Beltfixed link.
THE RECORD RUN
By Saturday morning (day 2) the speed was up to 43 knots and the average up to 40.28 knots. "Cat-Link V" then received a relayed MAYDAY message from Rescue Control Centre, Halifax advising all shipping to keep a sharp lookout for a ditched single engine aircraft with two people aboard whose last reported position, some 40 hours ago, was nearby. Captain Claus Kristensen reported current position and notified RCC Halifax that "Cat-Link V" was proceeding to the last reported position. On board tension suddenly grew about 10 nautical miles short of the position when something was sighted in the water - closer investigation revealed a long line buoy. "Cat-Link V" proceeded through the area on a NE course.
Two hours later a rescue plane circling overhead advised of debris some 30 nautical miles behind. "Cat-Link V" was asked to turnaround - towards New York - and proceed immediately to the area. After one hour the "Cat-Link V" crew located the smoke flare dropped by the aircraft and the debris. Crew member, Soren Kristensen donned an immersion suit and went over the side to recover a 500mm3 block of foam and a 370mm long plastic cylinder. Later, about 1 nautical mile from this position "Cat-Link V" also recovered a fishing buoy, tragically there are still no clues as to the fate of the occupants of the plane. All debris was unrelated to the missing aircraft and having searched the area for some time "Cat-Link V" proceeded to the turn around point where she was relieved of search and rescue duties by RCC Halifax.
Day 3 weather conditions were not favourable - 30 knot winds and sea on the beam. Engine rpm was reduced to preserve fuel and the speed, with 770 nm still to travel, was 40.5 knots.
The weather finally turned for the better and with 130 miles to go the average speed was up to 39.678 knots. With the record in sight, the crew calculated that if they had not diverted to search for the lost aircraft "Cat-Link V" would have averaged 41.05 knots.
"Cat-Link V" crossed the line at Bishops Rock the official UK arrival point, travelling at a fast 47.6 knots, at 02.17.42 UTC on Monday 20th July. The average speed achieved was 39.897 knots, just short of the goal of a 40 knot average for the almost 3000 mile trip but still smashing the Transatlantic Record. The ship may fulfil their 40 knot ambition if the Hales Trust (administrators of the Hales Trophy) approve an adjustment for the time taken for the search and rescue operation.
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