Ellen MacArthur on Standby for Global Sailing Challenge

14 December 2004

Ellen MacArthur is on standby for her solo non-stop round the world voyage in her 75 foot carbon fibre B&Q trimaran.

The B&Q trimaran has been constructed with the sole objective of breaking the round the world record. Over 30,000 man hours went into the construction of the trimaran at the Boatspeed facility north of Sydney over a seven-month period that began in May 2003.

The three-hulled structure is made of carbon fibre to withstand the extreme conditions and loads she will race under across the world's oceans. The concept is built around trying to achieve high daily average speeds in a variety of conditions, coupled with safety and reliability, in equal measure.

Ellen’s target is to beat the record set by the Frenchman Francis Joyon, who currently holds the record for a solo circumnavigation around the world of 72 days, 22 hours, 54 minutes and 22 seconds, beating the previous record by 20 days.

“I know this record is extremely hard to beat,"" she concedes. ""What Francis did was almost unimaginable, so the bar is set very, very high."" But with the B&Q trimaran MacArthur has proved that it is capable of setting records. She has sailed more than 20,000 miles aboard B&Q and on one voyage smashed the record for the fastest female crossing of the Atlantic and came within 75 minutes of an outright record.

""This is the first time that a monohull has been designed specifically for solo record-breaking,"" MacArthur explains. ""And it was designed around me. Everything from the cockpit dimensions to the amount of sail was calculated to allow me to do the best possible job of sailing her.""

Ellen's current standby mode is amber, meaning a 60 to 70 per cent chance of departure in the next 72 hours.

Only five attempts to sail solo, non-stop on the 26,000 mile course around the world on board a multihull have been made and only one of those sailors - Francis Joyon - made it without stopping.

B&Q has already demonstrated her speed capabilities on her solo west-east transatlantic record attempt this summer when she averaged speeds of 19.42 knots. For the round the world record, B&Q will have to average in excess of 15.38 knots to beat Joyon's time.

MacArthur currently holds solo sailing race records for the fastest female to race solo around the world in the 2000/2001 Vendée Globe in 94 days, 4 hours, 25 minutes, 40 seconds and finishing 2nd overall in the Kingfisher monohull, and she is also the fastest female solo to cross the Atlantic west to east in 7 days, 3 hours, 49 minutes, 57 seconds aboard the B&Q trimaran.

""The boat is completely ready to go, I am completely ready to go...we have all the food on board, all the fuel on board, the boat just needs to literally throw the lines off the dock and go. So its 100% ready waiting for the weather.""

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