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10 May 2006, 02:31 pm
One Final Record To Go
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Ellen MACARTHUR

After nearly seven weeks in Asia, Ellen MACARTHUR (GBR) and the crew of B&Q crossed the start line off Terengganu, Malaysia today at 10:38:38 UTC, to start the final leg of the Asian Record Circuit. This is the final sprint south, towards Singapore as B&Q sails the final 280 miles on leg twelve, as they look to establish the final and 13th record on this circuit.

'It really is pretty unbelievable that it was only a few weeks ago we left Japan for China in the cold and wet. We have packed so much into this tour, experienced so much and achieved so much, the time has literally flown by,' commented MACARTHUR. 'The sailing has been really challenging at times and there are certainly moments that I will never forget! We have had a wonderful time in Malaysia - it really is a tropical paradise and far more relaxing compared to some of the major ports we have been to.'

The crew took a group of local children sailing onboard B&Q for the afternoon as a small way of saying thank you. MACARTHUR also attended the ISAF Grade 1 Monsoon Cup Terengganu luncheon at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, with Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad BADAWI. MACARTHUR presented the Prime Minister with a framed picture of B&Q and a signed copy of her autobiography. The event was attended by various other dignitaries from Malaysia including Dato' Seri Idris JUSOH (Chief Minister of Terengganu), and Datuk Dr. Leo Michael TOYAD (Malaysian Minister of Tourism) as well as reigning Swedish Match Tour Champion and current leader of its successor, the World Match Racing Tour, Peter GILMOUR (AUS). The event highlighted Malaysia's ongoing commitment to sailing and its aim to be a prominent centre for sailing within Asia.

'It was a great honour to met Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad BADAWI and to learn more about Malaysia's involvement in sailing and events such as The Monsoon Cup. Sailing throughout Asia is starting to grow and it is clear that this region is leading the way in this industry,' said MACARTHUR afterwards.

CHUA Stays Onboard

Singaporean sailor Elaine CHUA, continues her spell onboard the trimaran and will have the honour of sailing into her homeport of Singapore. This will be CHUA's sixth leg onboard B&Q. CHUA competed in the 2000/2001 BT Global Challenge onboard the 72 foot monohull Save the Children. In 2005 CHUA became the first Asian woman to compete and finish the 4,200 mile Mini Transat solo race.

'Racing onboard B&Q with Ellen and other sailors, such as Thomas COVILLE [(FRA)], has been an amazing experience for me,' commented CHUA. 'It is different class of boat to what I have been used to - this has definitely been a once in a lifetime experience for me. To finish the circuit in my home port will be a very special moment for me.'

The Final Leg

B&Q will head southeast along the Malaysian Coastline before rounding the southern tip of Malaysia and heading southwest towards the final stopover port in Singapore, with the current benchmark time for this leg standing at 1 day and 11 hours. The latest forecast from Commanders' shows that the wind will shift from the northeast through to the south west, and back round to the northeast again by this evening. B&Q will again face light conditions at the start between six and twelve knots, which dominate this region. The biggest challenge will come as B&Q makes the final approach into port as they navigate a safe route through the 60 smaller islets and busy shipping and fishing water that surrounds Singapore Island.

Singapore is located along the southern tip of Malay Peninsula, 85 miles (136 km) north of the equator. With an approximate population of 4.35 million, it is just 46 sq miles in size. In just 150 years, Singapore has grown into a thriving centre of commerce and industry and is now one of the busiest ports in the world, dominating the Strait of Malacca connecting the Indian Ocean to the South China Sea. Singapore is a major supplier of electronic components and a leader in shipbuilding. Whilst in Singapore B&Q will be berthed at the Republic of Singapore Yacht Club, after the onshore events, the shore team will prepare B&Q to be loaded onto a CMA-CGM container ship for her delivery back to Europe for her summer schedule.

Offshore Challenges (As Amended By ISAF). Image, B&Q in action:© Offshore Challenges Sailing Team
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