The collision damage (a floating tree…) during the delivery trip meant that the shore team faced a race against the clock to repair B&Q if the tour was to kick off on schedule. The dagger board and the sacrificial crash box on the bow took the full brunt of the collision, as it is designed to do but whilst the main structure of the boat was therefore spared, the repair has been a big one and has taken the total focus of the team. After several days of round the clock work, the damage is now fixed and B&Q will be ready to start tomorrow.
"We took a pretty heavy hit to the dagger-board and bow," commented shore manager Oli ALLARD, "We have been working flat out in order to get B&Q to the dock ready for the start on Saturday. It has been a big team effort to get everything fixed, the departure of the dagger board to a nearby repair shed was, in itself, a bit of an event with about twenty Japanese guys in blue overalls arriving on a flat bed motor boat to pick it up and head off randomly across the bay!"
Day to Day Challenges
The day to day challenges, enhanced by the language barrier, have been an interesting obstacle for the team, but after six days they have quickly settled into their temporary Japanese base. The differences in language and culture will be just one of the tests ahead for the team. On the water B&Q will be facing a very different set of challenges compared to those faced during the round the world record last winter. The record circuit will cover some of the world's busiest shipping zones, with large fishing fleets not used to seeing a fast moving three hulled missile! Use of the radar is going to be rather full time, and this time other boats not icebergs are going to be the main focus.
"It's amazing to think that we are just 24 hours away from the start of this record circuit. This is my first visit to Japan and we've been made to feel very welcome. Everyone has been incredibly friendly and has helped us especially with the repairs to the boat, we couldn't have picked a better place to start. At present the weather looks reasonable for the first leg, after the bashing the delivery crew took (up to 60 knots) on the way here, I think we are happy to depart in lighter winds. I'm looking forward to sailing with the team and I'm keen to get this tour on the road!"
The preliminary leg of the Asian Record Circuit 2006 will see B&Q sail from Yokohama to the start line (five nm long), which bears west from Jogashima Light House approx (35º 08.10'N; 139º 36.64'E) in Tokyo Bay. For this record leg, the crew will cover 906nm to Jeju Island, South Korea (33º 32.06N 126º 32.45E). To get there they will first sail down the south western shores of Japan before heading north west to Jeju. After completing this first leg, B&Q will continue north west to Dalian in northern mainland China, a further 418 nautical miles.
After viewing the latest weather forecasts the benchmark target times have been confirmed. There are three potential records to establish on these legs;
|No.||Record||Distance nm (km)||Target|
Yokohama-Jeju Island (S.Korea) (Gate:33 32 N 126 32 E)
Jeju Island- Dalian
OMEGA is the Official Timekeeper to Ellen MacArthur and the Asian Record Circuit 2006
Weather in Japan
Due to it's positioning globally (20 degrees latitude north and 23 degrees of longitude east) Japan's climate varies widely from one region to region. During the winter, it snows mainly on the Sea of Japan side and whilst remaining dry on the Pacific Ocean side, with the rainy season kicking in for around forty days during June and July, often recording exceptionally high rainfall. It is autumn that brings increasingly unstable conditions as Japan's Typhoon season reaches its peak in September, with typhoons affecting the south east coast of Japan.
Weather forecast from Ellen:
"The weather looks to throw up a real mixture for us on this record attempt to Dalian. We are looking at a light to moderate downwind start - followed by a confused area of bubbles of high pressure over and around our track. An offshore option could look the best for the coastal part over the first days. The first real weather we look like getting will be at the south western tip of Japan where we will see strong N to NW winds maybe reaching and sustaining over 30 knots. This will be lumpy, extremely cold and difficult sailing for B&Q. The pattern after this appears to be High pressure bubbles rolling across our track which will give a variety of different wind directions, which are not too strong, though will make the sea state quite uncomfortable."
Leg 1: Yokohama, Japan to Jeju Island, South Korea
Leg 2: Jeju Island to Dalian, China
Leg 3: Dalian to Qingdao
Stopover 3: Qingdao
Leg 4: Qingdao to Shanghai
Leg 5: Shanghai to Taipei
Leg 6: Taipei to Hong Kong
Stopover: Hong Kong
Leg 7: Hong Kong to Sanya (Hainan Island)
Leg 8: Sanya to Nha Trang, Vietnam
Leg 9: Nha Trang to Terengganu, Malaysia
8- 11 May
Leg 10: Terengganu to Singapore
The trimaran will return to the UK onboard a CMA-CGM container ship departing Singapore on 23 May. (The above itinerary may be subject to change due to weather conditions in the locality, and logistical requirements).