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Next Stop New York

15th August 2005

IN BRIEF:

*TRIMARAN B&Q TO LEAVE UK FOR THE USA

* SKIPPER ELLEN MACARTHUR WILL BOARD TRIMARAN OFF NEWFOUNDLAND TO SAIL THE REMAINING 1000 MILES IN 'SOLO' MODE TO NEW YORK

* MACARTHUR WILL OFFICIALLY GO ON STANDBY FROM BEGINNING OF SEPTEMBER THROUGH TO LATE OCTOBER

* HER OBJECTIVE - TO ATTEMPT TO SET A NEW SOLO TRANSATLANTIC RECORD

TIME TO BEAT: 6 DAYS, 4 HOURS, 1 MINUTE AND 37 SECONDS SET BY FRANCIS JOYON 6.7.05

 IN DETAIL:


The 75-foot trimaran B&Q will leave her base at Cowes Waterfront-Venture Quays in East Cowes on the Isle of Wight in the second week of August to begin her journey to the east coast of America. B&Q skipper, Ellen MacArthur will not be on board, leaving the responsibility of the boat to her shore team of Loik Gallon (Boat Captain), Jean-Sébastien Chesnier Proteau, Lalou Roucayrol and Kate Steven who will sail the 2000 mile journey from Cowes to Newfoundland on the Canadian coastline. This part of the delivery is expected to take up to ten days and on arrival off Newfoundland, the delivery crew will disembark as MacArthur and another shore team member Charles Darbyshire, take B&Q on to New York. This will provide MacArthur with the opportunity to sail the boat in 'solo' mode for the 1000 mile trip from Newfoundland, putting herself and the boat through its paces for the first time since finishing her solo round the world record. Darbyshire will be onboard in a purely back-up/safety role and to film Ellen sailing solo. The estimated time of arrival in New York is anytime between the 21st-24th August subject to the weather conditions.

B&Q's crew will be sailing against the prevailing weather conditions of the North Atlantic and, if forced to, will sail further miles to avoid any big low weather systems that may head their way. At this time of year it is unusual to see large scale depressions but already this season a number of hurricanes have affected the Caribbean but left the US unscathed so far.

As the autumn weather becomes more prevalent in September/October, it is one of those low pressure systems that MacArthur will hope to hook into to send B&Q across the North Atlantic is less than 6 days, 4 hours, 1 minute and 37 seconds - the current east to west solo transatlantic record set by French skipper, Francis Joyon, on 6th July this year on board his 90-foot trimaran, IDEC. [Joyon previously held the solo round the world record before MacArthur broke his time by just over one and half days].

The scale of MacArthur solo attempt is not being underestimated: "Francis has set us another very high benchmark - the chances of breaking it are very slim but if we don't try, we won't know."

Once the team are established in New York, MacArthur will be working with her weather routers, Boston-based Commanders' Weather, to monitor the weather systems and to look for a potential 'window of opportunity'. A heavy dose of patience will be required through September and October [Joyon was on standby for three months before his attempt]. MacArthur, subject to the advice of her weather routers, may divide her time between the US and Europe as she waits, but the standby clock is ticking as MacArthur must be back in Europe by the end of October to compete in the two-handed Transat Jacques Vabre race from Le Havre, France to Salvador de Bahia, Brazil with French skipper Roland Jourdain.

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