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2 April 2006, 08:05 am
MACARTHUR's Orient Express Arrives in China
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Ellen MACARTHUR
Dalian, China

The record-breaking 75-foot trimaran, B&Q crossed the finish line of Leg 2 of the Asian Record Circuit at 10:11:41 GMT yesterday. Ellen and her three crew have arrived at the north-eastern city of Dalian on mainland China and in doing so have established three new records since departing Yokohama, Japan on 25 January.
They completed their first record from Yokohama (Japan) to Jeju Island (South Korea) in a time of 5 days, 11 hours, 10 mins and 51 secs when they passed the finish gate on Thursday night; then set their second record from Jeju Island to Dalian in a time of 1 day, 23 hours, 57 minutes and 27 seconds inside of their self-imposed target time of 2 days and 5 hours.

The Manchu Record - the total elapsed time from Yokohama (Japan) to Dalian (China) - has been completed in a time of 7 days, 11 hours, 8 minutes and 18 seconds. The Manchu Record has derived its name from Manchuria - a name given to the vast territorial region of mainland China; famously populated by the Manchu people who conquered and ruled mainland China in the 17th century until the collapse of the Qing Dinasty in 1911.

For the opening legs of the 10-leg Asian Record Circuit, Ellen has sailed with three crew - Loik GALLON, B&Q's boat captain; Charles DARBYSHIRE and Shaun WENG, the only Chinese sailor that has completed a solo circumnavigation. To find out more about the B&Q crew go to www.teamellen.com and click on the 'Meet the Crew' icon.

From Ellen:

'It's certainly been an eventful leg. As we approached the finish line in Dalian, there was a huge change in conditions! The final twelve hours of the leg were unbelievable with everything from 25 knots downwind, to no wind, and then upwind in 25 knots! It wasn't easy to reach Dalian and for the final hours we were surrounded by a very thick fog! Everything seems to be a challenge, every corner we turn has been a challenge, and scooting in and out of cargo vessels and fishing boats last night was certainly very interesting! The nights are very long and still with no moon, which can mean quite stressful periods of sailing. We have also found the conditions here are much less predictable than in Europe. The grib files (weather files) are often different from the the real weather, meaning lots of sail changes, I have no idea what we have done wrong, but there seems to be no rest for the wicked! Even yesterday when we were sailing downwind in the sun we lost the wind behind the islands, it's just incredible. There have been many fantastic moments onboard during these legs, and there have also been some fairly dramatic ones!!

As we made the final approach to Dalian the wind gusted to 30 knots, which meant that manoeurvring the boat into the dock was quite a task! After lots of dodging of fishing lines and boats mobi is safely tied up on the dock in Dalian, and we are all looking forward to a good night's sleep.'

Dalian, bordering the Yellow Sea, is one of the most modern and prosperous cities in mainland China. It has a population of approximately 5.9 million covering an area of 5,328 sq miles but is still considered a 'young' city. Consumer culture has arrived in a big way bringing a consumer infrastructure, such as, shopping malls and restaurants. It is home to Dalian Shide Football Club - six times top division champions over the last eight years. Dalian boasts China's largest shipyard that has a docking capacity of 300,000 tonnes and is mainland China's largest modernized ship assembly yard. During the four-day stopover in Dalian, Ellen will get her first opportunity to visit a B&Q China store and meet the employees. Local government officials will officially welcome Ellen and the team to Dalian - they then get to go sailing onboard the trimaran, a once in a lifetime experience!

B&Q will depart Dalian on Wednesday, 5 April for Leg 3 - a short 265-mile sprint record to Qingdao, home to the sailing events for the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

NEXT OBJECTIVE:
Leg 3 Dalian to Qingdao (record no.4)
Distance 265nm
Target time 1d 10h
Depart Dalian Wednesday 5.4.06 (time tbc)

Offshore Challenges (As Amended By ISAF). Image, The Crew in Dalian:© DPPI
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