It has been five days since the 75-foot B&Q trimaran left Auckland to start her delivery trip back to Europe via the Falkland Islands. On board are skipper Ellen MACARTHUR, boat captain Loik GALLON and Mark THOMAS.
Loik and Mark are sailing with Ellen as far as the Falkland Islands and from there, she will embark on first solo voyage on board the custom-made trimaran that has been designed and constructed with one objective to try and set new solo speed sailing records.
As with any new, high-tech boats the first days of offshore sailing have presented its challenges but the overall feeling from on board is one of immense relief. "It's so great to be out here again, tackling little problems, sleeping hearing the water rushing past her hulls, and just being at sea again. I feel like I'm back in my element. Very happy - albeit very tired, and more than any other feeling - feeling so very, very lucky."
Forty-eight hours ago a sudden bang on-board revealed the tip (20cm) of the rudder on the starboard float had been snapped off after an impact with a submerged object. It took less than an hour for the crew to replace the rudder with a spare carried on board. Ellen has also had her first trip up the mast after the genoa head lashing broke at the top of the furler. They reefed down and hoisted the small jib as the repairs were made and, after two hours, they were back on course.
B&Q left Auckland in a high-pressure zone that moved east with them for the first 48 hours. As the trimaran progresses eastwards and south, both the breeze and the seaway has begun to build as the pressure slowly but surely starts to drop. B&Q at 1200GMT was 48 degrees south and 156 west having covered 1400 miles with approximately 3100 miles to go to Cape Horn. Conditions on board are getting cold both as air and sea temperatures drop. "We are in the south."