ELLEN MACARTHUR - SOLO NAVIGATION RECORD ATTEMPT

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Ellen Macarthur MBE

 

 

DAY 40 : RELIEVED TO BE OUT OF THE WORST


KEY DATA DAY 40 1410 GMT: 4 days 12 hours 4 minutes [13.76% of time remaining] ahead of Joyon


OMEGA: Official timekeeper for Ellen MacArthur

Lat/Long: 53 44 S / 124 15 W (1900 miles W Cape Horn)
Average Boat speed: 17.35 knots (heading E)
True Wind speed: 19.2 knots (direction NNW)
Sea temperature: 7.9 degrees C
Distance sailed so far: 16,958 miles at an average speed of 17.6 knots
(data communicated by Thrane MiniC via BT Business Broadband)


Update based on data recorded 1410 GMT...check home page for the latest data updated hourly


IN BRIEF:

* WORST OF THE STORM IS OVER but forecast to 'bite back' as B&Q sails back into the storm this weekend.

* PHYSICALLY OKAY BUT LACK OF SLEEP IS THE BIGGEST ENEMY, only 20 mins sleep for the 24-hour duration of the storm.

* LESS THAN 2000 MILES TO CAPE HORN but the challenges are not over - massive iceberg to the north-east of MacArthur to be negotiated.

* MACARTHUR NOT EXPECTING TO HOLD ON TO 4.5 DAY LEAD in the run-up to the Horn as Joyon sped up.


IN DETAIL:

The past week has perhaps been one of the most challenging week's for B&Q skipper, Ellen MacArthur, since her generator problems nearly scuppered her solo attempt in the South Atlantic over three weeks ago. B&Q has survived another intense Southern Ocean storm after MacArthur was driven to the edge of reason by days of erratic and unstable conditions. The latest storm, spinning off an intense depression 350 miles to her south, began advancing yesterday afternoon and reached its peak of 47 knots in the early hours of this morning. But was not as severe as previously forecast: "In the storm the boat was being thrown around and one of the biggest issues was that we had to desperately stay to the north because the more we slipped to the south, the worse the breeze would be, the worse the angle would be and the more we would have to fight against the wind. We were really, really struggling - we were trying to sail a true wind angle of 115 degrees which means the wind is only just aft of the beam and when you've got 30, 35, 40, gusting 47 knots, you can imagine the motion of the boat is pretty horrible."

Having had little time to recuperate between the extremeties of the unstable conditions that dogged her for three days and three nights, MacArthur was unable to sleep at all during the storm: "I couldn't switch off, I couldn't turn my brain off, I couldn't sleep for over 24 hours. I knew the worst was going to be between 2200 and 0600gmt and I was just bracing myself for it... There was only one period about 2100gmt when I managed to sleep for 20 minutes. I managed to get into my bunk on a few occasions and just lay there - my feet were freezing, my brain was just ticking over, the boat was getting thumped by waves... I tried to sleep but I couldn't disconnect my brain - I just lay there wriggling my toes, clenching my hands or gritting my teeth, just to deal with the stress. One of the best moments, when I did manage to sleep for 20 minutes in that storm, was when I got my Mum's hot-water bottle out and I got into my bunk and slept for 15-20 minutes, not more, but it made a big difference."

This morning, MacArthur got back on her feet and got B&Q back up to speed: "I've done about four sail changes since the storm - we've gone from 3 reefs and storm jib, to 3 reefs and staysail, to staysail and 2 reefs, to 2 reefs and Solent and 1 reef and Solent which is what we've got now. The seas not as bad as I expected it to be and the wind is about 20 knots and what is really cool is that we can actually see some blue in the sky and it seems like forever that we've been staring up at this angry, white, raining sky with a massive amount of breeze coming out of it."

With less than 2000 miles to go to Cape Horn, the challenges of the Southern Ocean are not over as B&Q will sail back into the same storm: "We're actually going to sail back into it on Saturday, so we're going to sail back through the front that has just attacked us. But all being well, the breeze will be less strong in the north and should be more north-westerly and less aggressive." The life of a depression is interesting to track. The one champing at the heels of Ellen last night has stalled, is doing a complete 360 degree spin in situ, will then rev its engine and start speeding east once again and intensifying - which is when it is at its most dangerous and violent. This could be the last storm before Cape Horn, but it's going to be a very difficult exit from the south for Ellen. Her objective for now will be to stay away from the centre of the low - where the winds go light but the sea state is extremely rough - and the weakening cold front to get into more favourable 25-35 knots of NW wind, north of 54 degrees south. In addition, Ellen will have to avoid a massive iceberg 200 miles to the north-east of B&Q. MRCC Chile have reported a 300m wide and 30m high iceberg at 51 39 derees south and 118 59 degrees west moving at just under 1 knot of speed.

Despite all of that, Ellen has built up a 4.5 day margin - in the main part due to the fact that Joyon was not fast on this part of the course - and B&Q is heading on a great route, close to the Great Circle Route, although MacArthur is not banking on retaining that lead: "Francis' run into the Horn was fast and I am not expecting to keep this lead for much longer." For now, conditions are good: "We managed to average 20 knots in the last 24 hours. Right now, we've got 20 knots of breeze, we're sailing along at 20 knots - we're okay, things are stable and we're okay." The question is for how long? Current ETA for Cape Horn is Wednesday, 12th January and rounding this legendary landmark will be a huge relief all round, not least to MacArthur herself.

 


 

 

 

 

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BLEAK OUTLOOK FOR MONDAY 8 Jan 2005 - 14:25

Latest from Ellen: "Right now, we've got the low only 250 miles behind us so it's not that far away. At the moment conditions are relatively stable so I'm just hoping things don't get too bad, too soon. But one thing, that is 100% sure, is that Monday is going to be an absolutely terrible day..." See full transcript below...

BBC GRANDSTAND 8 Jan 2005 - 12:08

This afternoon BBC Grandstand will broadcasting an update on Ellen's solo round the world record attempt. Grandstand starts at 2.30pm on BBC1 and Ellen's feature should be running at the top of the programme...

LATEST TIME ADVANTAGE 8 Jan 2005 - 10:19

As boat positions are still intermittent due to sat comms issues [see Day 42 full story below], Ellen's advance on the record stands at 4 days, 17 hours and 29 minutes at 1010 GMT...

COMMANDERS WEATHER 8 Jan 2005 - 07:22

Good weather conditions today - 18-25 knots NW wind and seas 15-20ft - will allow Ellen to continue with the 'job list' and get some rest before the storm of Thursday night catches up with her on Sunday/Monday.... See Commanders' analysis below...

BACKUP DATA FROM ARGOS 8 Jan 2005 - 04:20

Even though we've lost the Satcom C data reporting systems for the moment, the Argos beacon on board, a real safety backup device, continute to provide us with position data (not updating in LIVE DATA at present), but for those of you with maps on the wall...53.198S 116.651W was B&Q's position at 0300gmt. Argos is a independently powered beacon, that provides us regular position only data (ie no speeds, or boat data).

ELLEN PASSING ICEBERG ZONE 8 Jan 2005 - 04:17

Ellen is right now traversing the longitude where a number of iceberg reports to her north and south indicate that there is a line of bergs heading right up to 48 deg South (where her team mate, Nick Moloney, racing the Vendee Globe in her old boat, picked up 3 bergs on radar last night). Added tension, at a time when Ellen is working hard on a jobs list on board, sailing fast east and trying to recuperate as much as she can...'the Southern Ocean continues to wear me down...I'm very tired'.

STEADY PROGRESS / NO LIVE DATA STILL 8 Jan 2005 - 04:09

Data issues mean the position and lead have not been updated overnight yet, Ellen and her team working on it. However, we can report that Ellen has been making good steady progress to the east, racing to stay ahead of the depression that is once again moving east and threatening to overtake her before the end of the weekend - bringing with it gusts to 50 knots. Ellen has been working hard on a long jobs list during her day, and also had to replace one of the 'fuses' in her rudder system.

LATEST NEWS SIGNING-OFF 7 Jan 2005 - 19:57

Satcom C data connection issues onboard B&Q mean latest position information is only intermittently being transferred back to shore. Ellen, master of DIY, attempting to fix and connect to a new satellite for the West Atlantic region... Latest News signing off until later...

LESS THAN 2000 MILES TO CAPE HORN 7 Jan 2005 - 17:30

B&Q has less than 2000 miles to go to Cape Horn - the only real turning point on the course. The area is a 200-mile wide bottleneck between Latin America and Antarctica, and all the weather systems rolling around the Southern Ocean must pass through this gap. And there really is no release from the Southern Ocean until you turn that corner... See latest Day 41 story below...

RELIEVED TO BE OUT OF THE WORST 7 Jan 2005 - 15:26

"The fact that we actually managed to fight our way out of the front of the low and the fact that we managed to average 20 knots in the last 24 hours means we've actually managed to escape the worst of it... So I'm pretty relieved to be out of the worst of it. Right now, we've got 20 knots of breeze, we're sailing along at 20 knots - we're okay, things are stable and we're okay..." 

 

 

 


 

Ellen MacArthur began her world solo record attempt Sun 28 Nov 04 @ 07:10

 

 

 

 

PLEASE USE THE LINKS ABOVE TO READ HOW ELLEN SET A NEW WORLD RECORD

 


 

 

B&Q has over 350 stores in the UK, China and Taiwan and employs about 40,000 people.  With its sister DIY company Castorama which has stores in France, Italy and Poland, B&Q is the biggest DIY retailer in Europe and third biggest in the world.    http://www.diy.com

 

 

 

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