Two more different men than Fabio Buzzi and David Scott Cowper would be hard to imagine...

Two more different men than Fabio Buzzi and David Scott Cowper would be hard to imagine: the one urbane, Italian and effortlessly accomplished, the other English, buttoned and obsessive. Yet they have many more things in common than a shared taste for risking their lives setting extraordinary nautical records, one of which is a hitherto unsuspected sense of timing: how often does a magazine get to report on the launch of one boat as significant as the FB80 or Polar Bound, let alone two in the same month?

The long-distance speed records will start falling to the incredible FB80 immediately, if Fabio Buzzi has his way and the boat?s trials are successful: around Italy, Monte Carlo to London, Miami to New York, across the Atlantic, around the world: no one ever accused the Italian maestro of lacking ambition.

David Cowper?s timetable is a little less frenetic, but it is sobering to reflect that if Polar Bound?s sea trials go according to plan and he does get away this summer, he and his boat will completely vanish from the media?s gaze for up to three years ? and Cowper will be on board all that time, at latitudes up to 80?N, battling to make progress in the summer months, and iced in under perpetual darkness all winter.

So although the boats are amazing enough, it is perhaps the men who built them who are the real story.
If Cowper and Buzzi ever meet, each will recognise in the other a passion to succeed, a fearless determination, and a total understanding that luck is the last thing to trust your life to ? preparation is all.