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6 April 2006, 02:15 pm
MACARTHUR Sails Into China's Olympic Sailing Venue
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Ellen MACARTHUR

ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Ellen MACARTHUR (GBR) and B&Q sailed into the venue for the 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition at Qingdao, China yesterday, to completed leg three of the Asian Record Circuit.

B&Q crossed the finish line off Qingdao at 09:04:46 UTC yesterday, to record a time for the 265 mile leg from Dalian of 1 day, 2 minutes and 53 seconds. After completing the leg, B&Q is now berthed at Qingdao's Olympic Marina.

The shortest record of the entire 4,505 mile circuit, the 265 mile leg was one of the most physically challenging so far, the light starting conditions built up to strong northerly winds through much of the night but then fizzled again in the approach to the finish line which meant continual sail changes for the crew. 'With the 16 sail changes in total on this leg, we are happy but tired! It has been a very cold record run, and hard work over the past 24 hours,' commented MACARTHUR.

This latest record has been named 'The Marco Polo Record' deriving its name from the Venetian trader and explorer, Marco POLO, who organized several trips in mainland China in the latter part of the 13th century. During one of these trips he went from Dalian to Qingdao by land. POLO contributed very actively to the development and knowledge of Asian culture in the west.

MACARTHUR's View

Speaking yesterday morning, MACARTHUR reflected, 'It's been pretty tough going as the 39 knots of wind we had during the night decreased to a grand total of five this morning, making slow going onboard as we headed towards the finish. It has been a very cold record run, and hard work over the past 24 hours. We started off with full main and genoa, then gennaker, then one reef, then solent, then two reefs, then staysail, then three reefs, then this morning the sail changes continued to two reefs, solent, one reef and genoa, then two reefs solent, then one reef genoa, then full main genoa now full main and gennaker! So you can say that with the 16 sail changes in total on this leg, we are happy but tired!

'The weather this morning was just glorious, and we were lucky to have had bright sunshine, and really amazing conditions. It has been a real pleasure to be out sailing this morning, and we have been smiling in the cockpit, despite getting absolutely drenched by the odd breaking wave. There has been a lot of action in the way of ships and fishing boats, though we are starting to get used to that bit by bit.

'The worst thing has been the sea, as at a depth of just 20 to 30 metres and with almost 40 knots of wind, this leads to some pretty short sharp waves - a little like conditions in the North Sea. That's hard going for the steering on a boat like B&Q, and not particularly comfortable. Time wise, once the wind picked up, the sea state improved, and speed wise I think we have hit 30 knots a few times! But with the light beginning and the light end we lost many hours of time through the time we gained in the good winds! The best sailing was reaching with two reefs and solent earlier today - B&Q just took off, and the sailing was absolutely incredible. She goes like a train in those conditions, and though very wet she is a sheer pleasure to sail!

'I'm looking forward to visiting Qingdao, particularly due to its sailing connections. It will be great to see the facilities that will be available to sailors from all over the world for the sailing events during the Beijing Olympics in 2008.'

Olympic Venue

Qingdao will be the host venue for the 29th Olympic Sailing Competition for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, construction is underway of the Olympic sailing site and during her time in Qingdao, MACARTHUR will visit the Olympic harbour. Shore side events in Qingdao will kick off with a press conference to welcome MACARTHUR and the team as well as a presentation on the planned Olympic sailing events. They will then meet some of the aspiring Chinese Olympic sailors as well as Olympic committee officials before taking a tour of the new sailing facilities which will be available in 2008.

Qingdao is fast becoming the centre of sailing in China, with several Chinese sailors making their mark in sailing during the 2002 Asian Games in Busan, South Korea. They won a total of six gold medals out of a potential 15, as well as four silvers and one bronze. The main aim is now for gold in Beijing 2008. Chinese sailors have taken part in six Olympic Games since 1984 but never won a gold medal. The best result for the Chinese sailing team was a silver medal at the Barcelona in 1992 and Athens in 2004. MACARTHUR will also visit Qingdao's B&Q store, whilst the 75 foot trimaran B&Q will be on show to the public.

B&Q will depart Qingdao on Sunday 9 April for leg four, a 308 mile record to Shanghai - China's largest city and home of the financial centre of mainland China.

Asian Record Circuit Times

  • Leg one
    Yokohama, Japan to Jeju Island, Korea (906 nm)
    5 days, 11 hours, 10 minutes and 51 seconds
  • Leg two
    Jeju Island, Korea to Dalian, China (418 nm)
    1 day, 15 hours, 57 minutes and 28 seconds
  • The Manchu Record
    Yokohama, Japan to Dalian, China (1,324 nm)
    7 days, 3 hours, 8 minutes and 19 seconds
  • Leg three, the Marco Polo Record
    Dalian, China to Qingdao, China
    1 day, 2 minutes and 53 seconds
Offshore Challenges (As Amended By ISAF). Image, B&Q is in Qingdao:© Offshore Challenges Sailing Team
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