On this day , in 1986, millionaire Richard Branson smashed the world record for the fastest crossing of the Atlantic. His 72ft powerboat, the Virgin Atlantic Challenger (pictured right), reached the Bishop Rock off the Scilly Isles just after 19:30BST. The voyage was completed 2 hours faster than the previous record, set by the SS United States in 1952. The Challenger's successful crossing came in spite of problems with the fuel system.
Her voyage was closely monitored from an operation room in London, as the £1.5m powerboat crossed the finishing line at at more tha 50 knots It took the Challenger one hour from the, where crowds finish line to reach the island of St Mary's, where crowds were waiting in their hundreds in spite of the pouring rain.
In London the champagne flowed, but it was still not clear whether the team would be able to claim the Blue Ribband, the trophy awarded to the American boat in 1952. The prize currently resides in a New York maritime museum.
This was Branson's second attempt to break the record, his first attempt , in 1985, ended in failure when the boat sank off Land's End.
It was later confirmed that Branson had been denied the Blue Riband because he had broken two rules of the competition - he stopped to refuel and his vessel did not have a commercial maritime purpose
The SS United States' record was not broken until 1990, when the 74m catamaran 'Hoverspeed Great Britain' completed the crossing with an average speed of 36.65 knots.