B&Q has covered over 22,555 miles at an average speed of 16.5 knots and her required VMG [velocity made good to the finish] now stands at 11.4 knots with 4,559 miles of the course remaining - although MacArthur will sail over a thousand miles further chasing favourable weather and, as such, she will be required to sail a few knots faster than the average VMG required of 11.4 knots. Ellen passed east of the tiny 3-mile long island of Trinidade yesterday, coming within 6 miles of the volcanic island dominated by three peaks and today B&Qis approximately 650 miles south-east of Salvador, Brazil. The Equator will be crossed with much relief to take her back into the Northern Hemisphere, but it still lies another 1100 miles to the north and MacArthur must cross the Equator by 0835 GMT on Saturday, 29th January to beat Joyon's passage time.
MacArthur faces the reality as the battle for the record changes pace: 'Things could be a lot, lot worse,' said MacArthur. 'If someone had told me I was going to be 4 days ahead at Cape Horn, I would have thought they were mad. But that time buffer has proven very useful in dealing with the complicated weather of the South Atlantic - if we had not had that advantage, things would be a lot worse now.'
Yesterday Ellen sent back an email from onboard B&Q dealing with the current situation: 'I seem to have found some kind of inner peace tonight, and though today has been a very hot and little restful day, I feel surprisingly good. The weather could not be worse for the record, as I sit here we're sailing at 4 knots. But we have what we have, we cannot alter the weather....'
There is still every chance that MacArthur can still break the 72 day, 22 hour, 54 minute record of Joyon's, but it is looking harder to do with every position report. The 'race' just restarted at zero, but the wind is not letting B&Q get out of first gear - for now.