London, Oct 25 : English business magnate Sir Richard Branson's attempt at a transatlantic record may be in jeopardy after "massive seas and very strong gales" swept away a life raft, and ripped the main sail.
Branson, his children Holly, 26, Sam, 23, and Olympic hero Ben Ainslie had set sail from New York on October 22 in an attempt to set a record for the fastest crossing.
The billionaire spoke via satellite from his 99-foot yacht Virgin Money, and revealed that the storms hammering the Atlantic "may have been too much for the boat and we may have pushed it too hard".
"We were doing very good until recently when we had a massive wave hit us from behind. It literally took one of our life craft with it," the Telegraph quoted him as saying.
"The storm has also taken out the spinnaker and ripped the main sail so we'll have to decide whether it can be mended and whether we've still got a chance of making the record," he said.
He credits the 30-strong crew on board and Britain's America's Cup sailing team, who are also part of the crew, as capable of handling the situation.
"If anybody can sort these things out, these guys can," he exclaimed.
However, he is also realistic about the fact that if weather conditions worsened, he would not think twice about turning back and attempt the record again some other day.
The team wants to complete the journey in less than six days, 17 hrs, 52 mins and 39 secs.