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28/6/04 - LATEST DATA (1500 GMT) SHOWS THAT ELLEN MACARTHUR HAS GAINED ANOTHER FEW CRUCIAL MILES
 
      to climb within 4 miles of Laurent Bourgnon's record...only 13 minutes behind with 9 hours, 44 minutes and 42 seconds left on the clock and 152 miles to go to the finish line.

 
"WE ARE IN THE HANDS OF THE WEATHER..." that up until now has provided a good south-westerly 20 knot breeze but this afternoon that wind speed started slowly to decrease to just under 20 knots.
<> HAS AVERAGED OVER 17.8 KNOTS IN LAST 30 MINUTES and has to average 15.58 knots to beat the record...

WHETHER THE SOLO RECORD IS BROKEN OR NOT...ELLEN has sailed a fantastic attempt so far, sailing an estimated additional 300 miles further than Laurent Bourgnon's record, pushing <> and herself to their limits...

TO FINISH <> MUST CROSS THE LINE AT 00:44:42 GMT DUE SOUTH OF THE LIZARD within 5 miles, for her navigational lights to be visible by the official observer from the World Speed Sailing Records Council who will record the finish time of the <> trimaran...

PLEASE NOTE:
THE WEBSITE WILL BE UPDATED EVERY 2 HOURS THROUGHOUT TODAY AND HOURLY FROM 2000HRS TONIGHT. PLEASE REFER TO THE WEBSITE FOR THE LATEST INFORMATION.
www.teamellen.com

STATISTICS AT 1500GMT 28 JUNE
Elapsed Time: 06d 16h 50m
Ahead/behind record: -4nm, 0h 13m Behind
Existing record: 7d 2h 34m 42s
Distance covered: 2703 miles
Distance to finish: 152 miles
Position 49 39.40N, 9 07.16W
Average boat speed (VMG) towards finish so far: 16.79 knots
Average boat sped (VMG) now required to beat record: 15.58 knots
Current boat speed: 17.8 knots
Sailed in last 24h (point to point): 466 miles
Sailed in last 12h (point to point): 226 miles

LATEST NEWS FROM ELLEN AT 1300 GMT TODAY
Communications by BT Broadband www.teamellen.com/bt
Right now, we are sailing along in a breeze that is decreasing - we had about 20-22 knots all morning and now it is falling and oscillating in direction and our average in the last hour has been under 20 knots and it looks like it is going to be hard to maintain that right through to the finish. I just did a calculation for our average speeds that we need to maintain to break the record which is 16.2 knots which is pretty high when we see the breeze may be on its way out. So it's absolutely touch and go and unbelievably stressful.

For the moment the wind is holding out in the south-westerly sector which means that I am still on starboard gybe and if it stays like this, which is doubtful, I will be able to hold this quite a long way in. But what looks like is going to happen is that although I am pointing at the line right now, as the breeze shifts round I am going to start pointing south of the line and I'm going to have to take a very unfavourable gybe into the finish line which is going to be really, really bad news but for the moment all we can do is sail as fast as we can on this heading to the line and just hope that the breeze holds in there.

It's not over, till it's over... We have a chance of breaking the record, it's a small one and its going to take everything we've got to do it... We are in the hands of the weather and we've just go to see what happens with the breeze. It's either going to sit in there and stay in from the south-west and let us finish or it's not. And that's a pretty raw way of looking at it but that's how it is. If the wind strength stays around 20 knots and we have to gybe then its still feasible but if decreases below 20 and we have to gybe then it looks like we won't make it.

WEATHER BRIEFING: from Commander's Weather
Wind directions are TRUE, wind speed in knots, and time is GMT

1) Wind speeds have peaked and there will be a very slow decrease in wind
speed thru 1500UTC and then wind speeds will decrease further after 1500UTC
a) as we discussed before, the later we finish, the lighter the wind
speeds this evening, so let's finish by 2200UTC
2) Little change in wind direction expected thru 1200UTC
a) winds will move very slowly right thru 1800UTC and when winds become lighter, the wind directions will be more frequently 250-260+
3) Ridge of high pressure will be developing towards Brest over the next 24
hrs
a) wind speeds are significantly lighter 1-2 degrees further S and they
will continue much lighter just S of you thru the finish
4) You see the band of clouds is just over you - don't think there is any
showers in there, but
a) middle of a shower will kill the breeze today, so avoid the middle of
a shower at all costs. The edges of a shower will see good wind speed, but the middle is not good at all
b) if you have a choice, sunshine is better than cloud cover for wind
speeds
Wind forecasts
Wind directions are TRUE, wind speed in knots, and time is UTC
Mon, June 28 - winds diminish E of 10W
09: 220-240/17-23
12: 220-240/22-16, near 48 40N/10W
18: 230-250/13-18
21: 230-260/12-17
Weather: Partly cloudy to at times mostly cloudy daytime, clearing tonight.
Tue, June 29
00: 230-260/10-15 - finish at Lizard
03: 240-270/12-6
06: 260-230/ 5-10

<> WILL HAVE TO CROSS THE FINISH LINE BY 00:44:42 GMT ON TUESDAY 29th JUNE 2004 TO SET ANEW RECORD FOR THE FASTEST SOLO SAILOR TO CROSS THE ATLANTIC
Solo west-east Transatlantic existing records:
Laurent Bourgnon
Primagaz (60ft trimaran)
June 1994
7d 2h 34m 42s
2925 miles
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

Visit www.sailspeedrecords.com for further information.
For latest information, please go to www.teamellen.com
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For further information, please contact Offshore Challenges:
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E: kate@offshorechallenges.com or lucy@offshorechallenges.com

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