After working nearly 24 hours a day for several weeks to prepare the 110 foot maxi catamaran, Ellen MacArthur and her crew finally set off on Tuesday morning from Cherbourg to sail to their training base in Lorient, west France.
Flying the colours of Kingfisher plc's two principal brands, B&Q and Castorama, the giant multihull quickly found her legs and was at Ushant, the north west tip of France before sunset on Tuesday. Perfect for the cameraman and photographer at least, who captured the first great images of the boat in her new livery.
After a rough and cold night in a force 8 easterly wind, KINGFISHER2 arrived Wednesday morning at just before 1100 french time, at the old submarine base in Lorient - the home to several of the French trimaran campaigns, include Alain Gautier's Foncia - the campaign Ellen joined for last year's ORMA 60 circuit. Team Kingfisher will be based at the French America's Cup compound until they are ready to leave for the Jules Verne, hopefully mid to late January.
First sensations for Ellen - "It was bloody cold, but apart from that, great for everyone to get out there sailing, even though we took it pretty easy as we are not fully set up onboard yet to push her too hard. Its a very different sensation of course to the monohull... The new sails from North look good, and whilst we have plenty of items on the job list, we're in great shape considering the limited time we have had so far since we received the new mast. The guys have been putting in some serious hours.... Now we have to work through the list, get some sea miles in, and verify everything for the Jules Verne. We expect to do some longer training trip just after Christmas."