NEW YORK (AP) _ It's a mark that's stood for almost a decade: Crossing the Atlantic Ocean by catamaran in six days, 13 hours and three minutes.

Now, yachtsman Steve Fossett and his crew, including Virgin Airlines chief executive Richard Branson, are aiming to break the record.

The crew of the 105-foot catamaran PlayStation _ considered the world's fastest sailboat _ pulled into New York City waters on Thursday to begin a two-week preparation period before starting the attempt to break the trans-Atlantic crossing record.

``This is a great ambition of mine to go after the trans-Atlantic record, and now we have a great chance at it,'' Fossett said.

The record was set by Serge Madec of France in 1990, on board the Jet Services V.

Fossett, who already holds other sailing records and failed in numerous attempts to sail around the world in a hot-air balloon, plans to leave around Oct. 25.

The trip from Ambrose Light outside New York Harbor to Cornwall in England is a distance of 2,888 miles.

``It gives me great satisfaction to have done these things,'' Fossett said when asked why setting records was so important. ``It demonstrates that my team and me can sail well enough and sail faster than anyone's ever sailed before.''

He invited Branson as a favor after Branson had invited him along on a ballooning attempt.

Branson said he relished challenges like sailing and ballooning as ways of taking some time away from his business enterprises.

``Being out on the sea without a phone, without a fax machine, just taking on the elements with a group of people one admires enormously, it's very exhilarating and a complete change,'' he said.

The boat was launched nine months ago in Auckland, New Zealand, and set a 24-hour travel record with a mark of 580.23 nautical miles in a day in March 1999.