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ELLEN HALVES BOURGNON?S LEAD TO 10 HOURS at 0800GMT,
 
      after a blistering 24 hour run of just under 500 miles. B&Q?s track took her 170 miles to the north west of the Portuguese Azores Islands - 1184 miles to the finish.

 
FORCED REST AFTER HITTING A ?WALL? YESTERDAY gets Ellen back on track. Amazing what one continuous sleep can do! ?I did have some sleep, 1hr 45min, that's the most I've slept the whole trip so far - I dreamt and everything, it felt like I had been asleep all night. I woke up and it took me a few seconds to work out where I was.? reported Ellen after pulling herself back from the edge.

?IF WE?D BEEN ON THE 60 [TRI]...WE WOULD HAVE BEEN UPDSIDE DOWN: B&Q's a glam she's handling it so well, if we had been on the 60 we would have been upside down, I'm almost convinced and yet she was absolutely fine. We were doing 33 knots boat speed and a bear away when the wind speed suddenly shot up to 28 knots but she was fine.?

ITS GOING TO BE TOUGH BUT THIS RECORD ATTEMPT is very much still ON after another hard fought day of great progress by Ellen...the average speed now required down track has reduced to 18.21 knots. Every mile B&Q gains now will be needed for the predicted slower conditions in the final miles.

STATISTICS AT 0800GMT 26 JUNE
Elapsed time: 4d 9h 50m
Ahead/behind record:
YESTERDAY -391 miles, 22hr 49min behind
TODAY -183 miles, 10hr 40min behind
Existing record: 7d 2h 34m 42s
Distance covered: 1671
24 hour point to point distance: 486 miles
Distance to finish: 1184
Position: 42 18N; 31 39W
Average boat speed (VMG) towards finish so far: 15.76
Average boat speed (VMG) now required to beat record: 18.21
Current boat speed: 22 knots
Weather conditions: North westerly winds 18 to 24 knots


NEWS FROM THE NIGHT
?Doing alright...still got breeze although its gone finicky for a while...had a pretty good night speed wise, not been horrendous. We?re 170 miles away from the western most of the Azores Islands, did you know that?...you wouldn?t have thought that would you!
We?ve been averaging 21 knots through the night, with periods averaging 23, and 24.8 average for an hour this morning...since then about 22 knots...course over the ground pretty good 070. Got a bit of an [tactical] issue because Pierre says go east and Commander?s say get north...so I think in between the two is good...!?

THE FUTURE
Bit nervous about which sails to put up when the wind free's off but still 20 knots, worried about the lashing on the genoa...not at that stage yet though. Looks like more breeze at the finish than we thought. On the whole we?re kinda alright. Its still tight, but the biggest issue is today. If the breeze dies out like its forecast we?re gonna in big trouble but if it stays at 19-20 knots we?re going to be relatively alright.?

ON NEWS THAT SHE HAD HALVED BOURGON?S LEAD
?Oh really...wow that?s cool, very cool, awesome! Got it all marked on the chart, but I?ve not been looking at his time much. Just want to concentrate on what I?m doing.?

MORE AUDIO TRANSCRIPT FROM ELLEN PHONECALL YESTERDAY EVENING...RELIEF THAT ELLEN WAS STILL ON PLANET EARTH after coming too close to the edge in terms of fatigue, the solo sailor?s fuel gauge.
?I'm alright, just wanted to let you know.... I'm OK, I'm doing 25knots in a changing breeze, I'm still sailing a little lower to maintain a high boat speed, over 24 knots.
I did have some sleep, 1hr 45min, that's the most I've slept the whole trip so far - I dreamt and everything, it felt like I had been asleep all night. I woke up and it took me a few seconds to work out where I was. I'm going to try and get some more sleep now while the breeze seems to not be doing anything really stupid. It's quite strong, 20-25knots but I am sailing on 115 true wind angle, it's pretty much alright.
The boat's a glam she's handling it so well, if we had been on the 60 (tri) we would have been upside down, I'm almost convinced and yet she was absolutely fine. We were doing 33 knots boat speed and a bear away when the wind speed suddenly shot up to 28 knots but she was fine. I was on deck, it's wasn't even as if I was late trying to sort it out - I was there. She was OK and I think I'll be alright, just concentrate on getting more sleep, make that my priority in the next 24 hours.
We're doing 28 knots of boat speed right now, not particularly in the direction we want to go but there's been a bit of a wind shift. It's quiet cloudy but the clouds are not as big as they were earlier so they are not effecting the breeze quite as much.
I think we're alright, we seem to have found a comfortable wind angle and the boat has been alright, not suffering too much, not as loaded as we were before. Apparent wind speed is now only 24 knots, I've been sailing with it up to 32.
The clicking noise in the background is the traveler clicking up and down the track, it's clicking because all the balls have gone square. Quite loaded!
[Alarm sounds alerting that the wind is now in excess for the sail combo she has up] There she goes.... it's just like that the whole time, I have been cheating the system and I keeping changing the alarm level up but I've done that so many times now I know the sail is just going to explode if I do it again, so, I'd rather it told me. I was so tried earlier I got in the bunk and the alarm was just going off...beeeeeeep [ellen laughs] the boat was doing about 28 knots and I was just cuddled in my sleeping bag! [sigh] oh dear...
So I've being doing some calculations, trying to think positively and work things out. I'm sailing up to a way point for a gybe just over 1000 miles away so I need to average 20 something knots. From the gybe I should be reaching in from there, may be gennaker, may be reaching.?


WEATHER BRIEFING: from Commander's Weather to Ellen 0600GMT June 26
Summary
1) Nice job keeping us in the game - I have you finishing around 2200UTC Mon
2) Really no change - prefer location to hit and then gybe on would be 50N/20-22W, but still looks like. Winds will back too much before we can get there
a) the good news, the winds are a bit further left between 10-20W, which will help a lot, if they develop that way
3) Satellite pic shows a lot of stratocumulus clouds in the area - they should start to clear as the winds back today, but breezes will continue to be a bit unstable both in direction and speed
4) I think wind speeds have peaked and a slow drop in average wind speed will occur between now and about 18-2100UTC
a) wind directions have reached max right and will ease a little left thru 1200UTC, but will show a more determined left turn after 1200UTC
b) until the stratocumulus clouds clear, you may have a few more bouts of big left/right shifts with this clouds. Regardless, keep doing what you are doing, it is working
5) I think we will be as far N as we can get by 0600-0900UTC Sun - winds will be too far left and then we turn for home on starboard
6) As always, the faster we finish, the stronger the winds at the end and if we finish after 00UTC Tue, winds will become quite light
Wind forecasts
Wind directions are TRUE, wind speed in kts, and time is UTC

Sat, June 26
09: 320-300/16-22, more wind speed further N
12: 300-290/15-20, near 43 20n/30 55w
18: 290-280/14-20, more wind speed further N
Weather Mix of clouds and sunshine this morning, partly cloudy afternoon and overnight.

Sun, June 27 - winds rebuild somewhat as you get further north
00: 280-260/16-22
06: 260-240/18-23
12: 250-230/18-23, near 49N/22 20W - I would prefer N of 50N for more wind speed and better angle
18: 230-250/20-25
Weather Partly cloudy

Mon, June 28 - winds diminish
00: 220-240/18-23
06: 220-240/17-22
12: 220-240/14-20, near 49N/8 45W
18: 230-260/10-16
Weather Partly cloudy to fair

Tue, June 29
00: 250-280/10-5 - finish at Lizard
06: 300-240/ 5-9
Partner of the day:... Sony Vaio laptops provide the computing power on board
WILL HAVE TO CROSS THE FINISH LINE BY 00:44:42 GMT ON TUESDAY 29th JUNE 2004 TO SET A NEW RECORD FOR THE FASTEST SOLO SAILOR TO CROSS THE ATLANTIC?

NOTES ON THE RECORD
Solo west-east Transatlantic existing records:
Laurent Bourgnon: Primagaz (60ft trimaran)
June 1994; 7d 2h 34m 42s, 2925 miles, at an average speed 17.15 knots
Florence Arthaud (fastest female): Pierre 1er (60ft trimaran)
1990; 9d 22h 5m, 2925 miles, 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

For further information, please contact Offshore Challenges:
Kate Steven or Lucy Harwood
T: +44 (0)870 063 0210

B&Q has over 350 stores in the UK, China and Taiwan and employs about 40,000 people. With its sister DIY company Castorama which has stores in France, Italy and Poland, B&Q is the biggest DIY retailer in Europe and third biggest in the world.
http://www.diy.com

www.kingfisher.com

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