Ellen MacArthur has unveiled plans to attempt a number of single-handed sailing records on a new giant triamaran.
The 27-year-old said today she would tackle the 24-hour record and the Atlantic crossing record, among others, next year in the 75-foot trimaran, which will be built in Australia.
"It's a project I've had in mind since 2001, just after the Vendee Globe,"
said MacArthur, who recently returned to Europe after failing in her attempt to break the Jules Verne round-the-world record.
"We discussed it in detail and we considered announcing it along with our other projects at the London boat show in January 2002. But we decided against it. I wanted to see first how the Jules Verne trophy would go.
"It's great to be able to talk at last because it's a project that's dear to my heart. I'm very excited," added the Route du Rhum winner.
The new Kingfisher was designed by Nigel Irens and construction will start in four weeks near Sydney. The boat should be tested first at sea in December.
"I'm going to go to Australia several times to monitor the work. The aim in having it built in the southern hemisphere is the same as when we built the 60-foot monohull -- to train and learn from sailing it back home,"
MacArthur, who found fame after finishing second in the Vendee Globe round-the-world single-handed race in 2000, has so far built her reputation on monohull boats.
But she discovered multihulls in training with her 14-man crew for the Jules Verne Trophy. To sail such a powerful but fragile machine single-handed is another challenge.
"I enjoyed sailing with a crew and it's not because I disliked the experience that I decided to go single-handed on a big multihull.
"It is a project I had for a long time,"
MacArthur also plans to build another 60-foot multihull to defend her Route du Rhum title in 2006.
"One thing I learnt from the Vendee Globe is that it's important to have projects and to try something new as quickly as possible,"