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BRITISH SHIP CROSSES ATLANTIC IN RECORD TIME

Hoverspeed Great Britain completed a record-breaking sprint across the Atlantic Saturday, lowering the best time for a passenger ship by two hours and 48 minutes, the owners said.

The ship passed the Bishop Rock light off the Isles of Scilly at 14 seconds after 8:25 a.m. local time, or three days, seven hours and 52 minutes after departing from New York, said Brian Reese, a spokesman for the Hoverspeed project in London.The record had been held by the S.S. United States, which made the crossing in three days, 10 hours and 40 minutes in July 1952.

John Lloyd, captain of the 242-foot craft, said he expected to claim the Hales Trophy despite controversy over the ship's design.

Hoverspeed project spokeswoman Lynn Harvey said the Hales Trust, keeper of the trophy, had confirmed last year that Hoverspeed Great Britain was eligible.

However, she said, the curators of the Mercantile Marine Museum on Long Island, N.Y., where the trophy is kept, maintain it was not valid because the catamaran had no passengers aboard for the record run.