29.06.04 ELLEN MACARTHUR ON B&Q TRIMARAN HAS FAILED TO BREAK THE SOLO TRANSATLANTIC
WEST-EAST RECORD BY 75 MINUTES AFTER BATTLING ACROSS THE NORTH ATLANTIC FOR THE PAST WEEK ON HER VERY FIRST ATTEMPT. The outright record of Laurent Bourgnon, has stood for 10 years now, and remains at 7 DAYS, 2 HOURS, 34 MINUTES, 42 SECONDS...
THE DEADLINE TO BEAT THE RECORD EXPIRED AT 00:44:42 GMT TODAY (29.6.04) AND <> CROSSED THE FINISH LINE AT 01:59:57 GMT after crossing the start line off Ambrose Light, New York (USA) on Monday 21 June at 2210 GMT completing the 2925 mile course in 7 days, 3 hours, 49 minutes, 57 seconds.
A DISAPPOINTING END AFTER A MOMUMENTAL EFFORT FROM ELLEN MACARTHUR WHO HAS PUSHED <> AND HERSELF TO THE LIMITS in pursuit of this record, which has been missed by just over an hour...every time the record has looked a lost cause, Ellen has managed to squeeze more pace out of B&Q and get her back in to a positive position...but the wind, dropping in the final miles to under 15 knots, has had the final say.
<> ACHIEVED A BEST 24-HOUR MILEAGE OF 526 MILES BETWEEN 0138 GMT 23.6.04 TO 0138 GMT 24.6.04...just 14 miles short of the solo 24 hour record. The performance of the boat has exceeded all expectations so far since her launch in Australia in January this year.
AS HER VERY FIRST SOLO RECORD ATTEMPT ON THE GIANT 75 FOOT TRIMARAN, Ellen and the B&Q shore team have learnt an incredible amount on this 7 day sprint - about herself, and her 75 foot racing trimaran. Ellen will next consider whether to make a winter attempt on the round the world record held by Francis Joyon.
Average speed of the WSSRC transatlantic course of 2925 miles : 17.02 knots
Average speed on the distance sailed through the water 3338 miles : 19.42 knots
FROM ELLEN AFTER THE RECORD DEADLINE EXPIRED:
Communications by BT Broadband www.teamellen.com/bt
ON FAILING TO BREAK THE RECORD BY SUCH A SLIM MARGIN
"It's sad. I've put so much in to this record attempt. I've given it everything I've got. If I think of all the times I could have gained a few minutes, of times I've made small errors, it's very frustrating. But I've learnt huge amounts about myself and the boat. I never imagined being able to push her so hard. And I also haven't pushed myself that hard before, maybe not even in the Vendée Globe. I don't think I've slept for more than 12 hours in total since New York..."
Of course MacArthur, rather than having lost it by making errors, kept on 'making it possible' by drawing on her reserves and retaking the ground lost to Bourgnon's ghost track in the first couple of days. From 24 hours behind she has come back to be level with his track in the final miles, only to be defeated by the wind.
COULD SHE HAVE DONE MORE?
"I certainly couldn't have pushed any harder, that's for sure. In the closing stages, the biggest problem was the wind direction, we had to make one extra gybe and during that time while heading to the north we were not making much ground to the finish, but we had no choice to keep the stronger wind. At the end of the day the 'Wind Gods' were in control, not me. Two days ago I did actually think it was over, but we came back and got back in the game again. I had started to believe we were going to do it, but clearly it wasn't to be - this time."
FROM DAVID ROTH, MARKETING DIRECTOR, B&Q:
"Well done, Ellen, for your efforts to break the solo transatlantic record. You set yourself an amazing challenge and your 'can do' spirit is an inspiration to us all. We share your disappointment this time round but we look forward to facing the next big challenge with you and celebrating your success."
SUMMARY OF <> SOLO TRANSATLANTIC RECORD:
22:10:00 GMT to 10:10:00 GMT 21.6.04
Follows almost the exact course away from New York as Laurent Bourgnon (Primagaz) record course. Experiences winch failure.
Behind record: -42 miles / -2h 27m / DTF (distance to finish) 2674 miles
10:10:00 GMT to 22:10:00 GMT 22.6.04
First 24 hours completed at an average speed of 17.16 knots - right on the record pace. New weather model arrives forcing choice - risk poor forecast on the northern direct route (less miles) or head for the best weather (southern route) but having to sail an average 2 knots faster than the record pace.
Behind record: -151 miles / -8h 48m / DTF (distance to finish) 2490 miles
Ellen quote: "At most 14 minutes sleep and 8 sail changes since having left New York and now I have something on the rudder acting like a giant break on the boat, until daylight there is not much I can do. I also broke part of a winch during the night so its not been an easy start..."
22:10:00 GMT 22.6.04 to 10:10:00 GMT 23.6.04
Early part of third 12 hour at sea - experiences lighter winds of 14 knots, boat speed suffers down to 12-14 knots, followed by good breeze from 247 degrees at 0155 GMT sees start of some very high average speed hours, enters Gulf Stream and increases speed over ground (SOG) by 2 knots.
Behind record: -243 miles / -14h 10m / DTF (distance to finish) 2347 miles
10:10:00 GMT to 22:10:00 GMT 23.6.04
Continues very fast pace - wind at 27 knots at 245 degrees average. Perfect conditions for 24 hour record pace with 120 degrees wind angle.
Behind record: -289 miles/ -16h 51m / DTF (distance to finish) 2136 miles
Ellen quote: "Getting thrown around a bit right now, it's quite violent....haven't slept for more than 20 minutes in one go, and probably 15 minutes on the first night and maybe a couple of hours total in the last 24 hours. We're going so fast, cannot afford to miss anything, and am scared of breaking things, it's hard to sleep. Got no will to eat, but just have to look after the basics..."
22:10:00 GMT 23.6.04 to 10:10:00 GMT 24.6.04
By 0138 GMT <> covers 525.96 miles in 24 hours - 14 miles short of the world record distance set by Laurent Bourgnon during his record in 1994.
Behind record: -398 miles / -23h 12m / DTF (distance to finish) 2000 miles
10:10:00 GMT to 22:10:00 GMT 24.6.04
At 1515 GMT gybes onto port, westerly wind 21 knots, boat speed 18.5 knots. 1750 GMT gybes back on to starboard and heading south-east waiting to be headed towards course.
Behind record: -428 miles / -24h 57m / DTF (distance to finish) 1852 miles
Ellen quote: "We had 40 knots of wind, we were down to 3rd reef and then we were hit very very hard by one wave, that sent us to 35 to 45 degrees maybe more. Absolutely smacked, the whole boat was physically thrown sideways including me."
22:10:00 GMT 24.6.04 to 10:10:00 GMT 25.6.04
By 0025 GMT wind headed to allow sailing directly to Lizard finish line - speeds average around 18 knots.
Behind record: -385 miles / -22h 26m / DTF (distance to finish) 1625 miles
10:10:00 GMT to 22:10:00 GMT 25.6.04
Port gybe heading 067 degrees directly for the finish at 19 knots in 20 knots of wind. 1130 GMT sailed slightly lower for 2 hours then by 1400 GMT back on course. 1800 GMT increased breeze and headed, boat speed is 22 knots and at 2130 GMT averaging 23 knots boat speed.
Behind record: -300 miles / -17h 29m / DTF (distance to finish) 1379 miles
Ellen quote: "Totally powered up, just waiting for something to break, so just got in my bunk in the end... Having spent the night cold and worrying about it in cuddy, decided to go to bed as not much I can do! If we can hold these speeds for a while we?re on fire, and still have a chance on the record."
22:10:00 GMT 25.6.04 to 10:10:00 GMT 26.6.04
Makes massive gains with consistent conditions for 12 hours. 2200 GMT sailing at 21 knots heading south of direct course; midnight breeze drops boat speed down to 18 knots. At 0845 breeze goes left slightly and allowing <> to sail more direct course.
Behind record: -108 miles / -6h 23m / DTF (distance to finish) 1141 miles
10:10:00 GMT to 22:10:00 GMT 26.6.04
Wind up to 25 knots and boat speed increases to 22 knots; heading west and looking for a header to take <> back to course; 1500 GMT wind dies off to 14 knots.
Behind record: -61 miles / -3h 33m / DTF (distance to finish) 902 miles
Ellen quote: "On the whole we're kind of alright. It's still tight, but the biggest issue is today. If the breeze dies out like its forecast we're going to be in big trouble but if it stays at 19-20 knots we're going to be relatively alright."
22:10:00 GMT 26.6.04 to 22:10:00 GMT 27.6.04
Behind record: -13 miles / -45m / DTF (distance to finish) 480 miles
<> gybes to starboard as wind moves from north-west to south-west.
Ellen quote: "We have just under 2 days to break the record, so its going to be a really hard push now. We have a gybe coming up later today, then we should be one heading in to the finish line. I'm feeling pretty tired...all I know is I'll give all I've got until we cross the line. We still have a chance, it depends on how these winds materialise this afternoon..."
22:10:00 GMT 27.6.04 to 10:10:00 GMT 28.6.04
Fast sailing for <> averaging 19 knots for 12 hours; loses wind instruments and autopilots unable to steer boat problem solved with help of B&G and back on track.
Behind record: -8 miles / -27m / DTF (distance to finish) 246 miles
10:10:00 GMT 28.6.04 to 01:59:57 GMT 29.6.04
Wind drops off on approach to the south west corner of England...the margin is lost...the record just slips away in the final miles...
NOTES ON <> RECORD:
- The finish time is recorded by the official observer from the World Sailing Speed Records Council (WSSRC) who will record the time by line of sight from The Lizard. The official finish time will be ratified by WSSRC after 30 days.
- The WSSRC current ratification of the course distance from Ambrose Light to The Lizard is 2925 miles sailed at an average speed of 17.15 knots by Laurent Bourgnon in 1994.
NOTES ON EXISTING RECORDS:
Solo west-east Transatlantic existing records:
Primagaz (60ft trimaran)
7d 2h 34m 42s
Average speed 17.15 knots
Florence Arthaud (fastest female)
Pierre 1er (60ft trimaran)
9d 22h 5m
Average speed 12.25 knots
MacArthur currently holds three previous solo sailing race records set on board her 60-foot monohull Kingfisher:
Plymouth (UK) to Newport (US) east-west transatlantic 14 days, 23 hours, 11 minutes (fastest female and winner of Class 1).
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.
Route du Rhum race (St Malo, France to Guadeloupe) new course record 13 days, 13 hours, 31 minutes, 47 seconds
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