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26 January 2003, 04:46 pm
Kingfisher2 to Leave Tomorrow
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Jules Verne Trophy
Lorient

The weather situation is about as complicated as can be but starting record attempts is never an easy task.
Based on the current weather forecast Ellen MacArthur and her crew will leave Lorient (NW France) on board KINGFISHER2 tomorrow in fairly clement conditions to make the 130 mile passage to the Jules Verne start area between Ushant (France) and the Lizard (UK) at the mouth of the English Channel. However, it is unlikely that KINGFISHER2'S non-stop round the world Jules Verne record attempt will start until Wednesday.

The weather forecast for Tuesday is for strong 25-30 knot winds from the north west - which is exactly the direction KINGFISHER2 needs to sail in to reach the start area - combined with a 7-8 metre swell making the passage from Lorient extremely difficult in conditions that could potentially damage the boat and tire the crew.

'It is a really tough call and things could change,' said MacArthur. 'But we know that trying to get from Lorient to the start area on Tuesday would be a nightmare so we decided to go early and leave Lorient on Monday afternoon. Equally we can see there is an opportunity to cross the start line on Wednesday as the wind moves back to the north and, perhaps more importantly, the sea state also decrease. It is usually the sea state that stops us sailing these boats at their full potential not the wind - so it is not smart to start when we can't sail at our maximum.'

The 14 crew will be arriving back in Lorient tonight to prepare for their departure tomorrow. The final decision to depart will be reviewed in the morning but all being well KINGFISHER2 will be on her way.

As KINGFISHER2 faces the prospect of departure on her record attempt - Olivier de Kersauson and his crew on board 'Geronimo' are entering the Southern Ocean on day 16 of their Jules Verne record attempt and still ahead of the existing record set by Bruno Peyron on 'Orange' of 64 days, 8 hours, 37 minutes, 24 seconds.
Kingfisher Media/ISAF News Editor
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