USA. Steve Fossett to go for ocean depth record; Cheyenne to be support vessel Print E-mail
Saturday, 18 March 2006
Marian Martin


Following Olivier de Kersauson’s report that Steve Fossett’s record breaking catamaran, Cheyenne, formerly Play Station, was undergoing extensive modification, in San Diego, BYM News has ascertained that Fossett has set his sights on becoming the deepest man in a submarine.

The record breaking maxi-catamaran Cheyenne has had the mast & rigging removed and is being converted to act as a platform, from which Fossett’s one man submarine will be launched.

The deepest known point in the ocean is the Challenger Deep, situated in the Mariana Trench, a 1,550 miles long and 40 miles wide depression in the floor of the Pacific.

In 1960, Jacques Piccard & Donald Walsh set a world depth record by descending to 35,810 feet in the “Trieste”, a bathyscaphe designed by his father Auguste and sold to the US Navy, in 1958. The US Navy also holds the record for the deepest dive by a large fully manned submarine, with a more modest 3000 feet being reached by the USS Dolphin, the Navy's only operational, diesel-electric, deep diving, research and development submarine, in 1968. The absolute depth record is held by “Kaiko”, an unmanned yellow submarine, belonging to the Japanese Marine Science and Technology Centre, which dived to 36,008 feet, in 1995.

Fossett’s exact plans and the nature of the vessel he will use for his record attempt are a closely guarded secret, but BYM News can reveal that the vessel will NOT be a bathyscaphe and that he is hoping to find a place on the ocean floor that is a few feet deeper than that discovered by “Kaiko”.

Plans for an assault on the world altitude record have not been set aside either and Fossett has hopes of becoming the first person to hold both altitude and depth records. In that ambition, he his following in the footsteps of Auguste Piccard, a Swiss born scientist, with an interest in both the stratosphere and the depths of the ocean. In 1930, Piccard designed the first pressurised cabin and, in 1931, with this cabin attached to a balloon, he and Paul Kipfer made the first manned balloon flight into the stratosphere, setting a new altitude record of 51,961 feet. In 1947, Piccard built his first bathyscaphe and, in 1953, he launched his second, the “Trieste”, in which he achieved a personal best of 10,300 feet.

As for Cheyenne, Fossett is said to be considering whether, after the record breaking catamaran has fulfilled its role of support vessel, it should be set up to run on bio-diesel for an assault on the world record for a circumnavigation under power.
Last Updated ( Saturday, 18 March 2006 )
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