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Close 1st Attempt for Ellen


Few sailors are identified on a 1st name basis. British single handed Ellen Macarthur aka ‘Ellen’ is one of those well known few. She just came up 75 minutes short of a new outright single handed west to east Trans Atlantic record. She did set a new record for the female category, though Ellen certainly has higher sights than this.

During the Atlantic crossing Ellen and her trimaran B&Q sailed about 400 miles more than the direct route, and about 350 more miles than record hold Laurent Bourgnon. For her 75 foot trimaran this is a day’s sail, so no doubt this record will be hers in the future.


The hard distance sailed figures are as follows:

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


Speaking with the Daily Sail afterwards she said, ‘”I tried to look at it in averages to the finish and not to think whether I was behind or ahead, because with a record attempt it can vary.” This is an interesting perspective…it’s not how far you have to go, or how fast the other person went but how fast do you need to go. During the record attempt reports carried this figure as… Average boat speed (VMG) now required to beat record: 17.64. During the attempt B&Q’s best 24 hour sail was 510/21.25 knots so seeing you need to average 17.64 knots is not as daunting as it might seem.

Record breaking sailing such as Ellen is engaged in is as pure and adrenaline filled as it gets. There’s only 2 outcomes, record or no record. No salvaging things by a 3rd place, or a good class finish/bad overall etc.

Sailing for records is all speed, time and distance without other factors.

It comes down to the added distance of “one extra gybe and during that time while heading to the north we were not making much ground to the finish.” To the reduced speed and added time of this situation “14.9 knots was absolutely achievable and then the breeze switched 10 degrees too far round and there was no way we could make that as the VMG.”

This fall look for Ellen to go after the solo round the world record recently set by Francis Joyon.

It’ll be a pleasure to be able spectate on Ellen’s next attempt, regardless of course.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, June 30th, 2004 at 10:08 am and is filed under Rowing Reporter. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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