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8 February 2005, 08:19 am
New World Record
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Ellen MACARTHUR

B&Q skipper, Ellen MACARTHUR, crossed the finish line off Ushant at 22:29:17 GMT (Monday, 7.2.05) to set a new solo, non-stop round the world record of 71 days, 14 hours, 18 minutes and 33 seconds. MacArthur has taken 1 day, 8 hours, 35 minutes, 49 seconds off the previous fastest 72 day, 22 hours, 54 minute solo time of Francis Joyon (Joyon finished his record attempt on 3.2.04).
From Ellen minutes after crossing the line: 'I cannot believe it, I absolutely cannot believe it. It hasn't sunk in yet. I don't think until I see faces again that it's really going to sink in. It's been an absolutely unbelievable journey, both physically and mentally. I'm absolutely overjoyed.'

Conditions at the finish line were relatively calm with a moderate 12-16 knot south-easterly breeze propelling B&Q at speeds from 18 to 20 knots. The WSSRC observer, Claude Breton, based at the lighthouse in Ushant counted down the finish time as a number of helicopters hovered above the 75ft mulithull, B&Q, filming the final moments of MacArthur's record attempt. The Royal Navy's HMS Severn stood off the line prepared to escort her across the Channel and into Falmouth. MacArthur's shore team are onboard ready to board the trimaran as soon as possible to help MacArthur sail the 100 miles to Falmouth.

B&Q sailed 27,354 miles through the water at an average speed of 15.9 knots.

A huge welcome reception is being planned in Falmouth for MacArthur's return. The trimaran will dock at Port Pendennis Marina and the public and over 300 media gathered in Falmouth will be able witness her return from the National Maritime Museum Cornwall.

She will not arrive at the entrance to Falmouth before 0800 GMT, and a more accurate arrival time will be published on the website once the shore team are onboard and a better analysis can be made of the speed at which they can sail the 100 miles to the finish.

The new solo world speed record will need to be ratified by the WSSRC [World Sailing Speed Record Council].

Ellen Macarthur Solo Round The World - New Solo Times:
Ushant-Equator 8d 18h 20m 7/12/04 0230GMT (taking 14h 3m off Joyon's time)
Ushant-Cape of Good Hope 19d 9h 46m 17/12/04 1756GMT (taking 10h 45m off Joyon's time)
Ushant-Cape Leeuwin 29d 14h 5m 27/12/04 2215GMT (taking 17h 24m off Joyon's time)
Ushant-Cape Horn 44d 23h 36m 12/1/04 0746GMT (taking 4 days 2h 45m off Joyon's time)
Ushant-Equator 60d 13h 35m 27/1/05 2145GMT (taking 1d 10h 50m off Joyon's time)
Equator-Equator record of 51 days, 19 hours and 15 minutes

Can you try and explain your emotions?
Right now I just feel elated. I'm absolutely drained. It's been a very tough trip. The whole South Atlantic was terrible for us on the way back up and it's just been just one big draining event from there onwards. I just feel exhausted but absolutely elated to be here and I've got a mixture of emotions in my mind. There are things spinning round in my head. The fact that I can see and touch people, that I can look them in the eyes, I've not looked anyone in the eyes for over two months. Just to have that look, to be able to see someone is very special. People take that for granted so there's a lot of things going round in my head right now. It's just great to have been able to cross the line, it's great that I can finally switch my brain off and not have to concentrate on wind speed and boat speed or weather for the first time in over two months. And also just to relax in the company of others because that's something that I have missed.

When you set sail on the 28th November, realistically did you think that you would have been able to break the record by over a day, what did you think you're chances were?
I think that you have to believe that you have a chance on something like this, otherwise you'd never have the motivation and the drive to build the boat, prepare the boat and to get anything ready. You have to believe that you can do it. To do it first time on a first attempt I really thought that was a close call. I really felt that would be extremely difficult. It was beatable - Francis agreed that it was beatable but to do it the first time, I really didn't think that was possible. It's been a huge challenge - it's been just a sleigh ride of ups and downs and five day leads and losing days it's just been a real
mix of highs and lows.

Can you just describe the feeling when you knew you had done it, when you crossed that line.
When I crossed the mine I felt like collapsing on the cockpit floor and just falling asleep. I was absolutely over the moon but just the fact that you can finally let go - when you cross the line it's over. It's just over, you don't have to worry anymore, I think that was the biggest emotion, elation and one of huge relief.

What keeps you going what gives you determination?
I think when you've set you're mind on something, I'm someone who when I decide to do something will risk everything to have to do it. The resource the drive to do that, I mean it's easy to say that, but I think the drive to do that, comes from the fact that I work with an unbelievable team of people and I'm supported by some incredible people and I'm not just out here doing this for me, I'm doing it for everybody. And when the chips are down and things are not going well, I don't want to let anyone else down. Probably one of the biggest motivations in the hardest moments is not letting people down.

What are you planning on doing when you get back on dry land?
The thing I'd like to do is see my family and it will be fantastic to be able to see them, let them see that I'm ok, i'm still smiling and I'm on my way home.

On behalf of ISAF, Göran Petersson - ISAF President, sent a congratulatory letter, in which he applauded Ellen's achievements, her commitment, dedication and seamanship, and her role as an inspiration to sailors and non-sailors, especially youth and women.

Team Ellen. Image: © Team Ellen
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