Sailing: MacArthur stays on track with repair job

Heading into the Southern Ocean and the left turn on to the conveyor belt that is the gale-strewn Roaring Forties and the huge rollers round Antarctica, Ellen MacArthur yesterday fixed both of her fresh-water makers and concocted a ventilator ducting system to cool her back-up generator on her 75ft trimaran B&Q.

Heading into the Southern Ocean and the left turn on to the conveyor belt that is the gale-strewn Roaring Forties and the huge rollers round Antarctica, Ellen MacArthur yesterday fixed both of her fresh-water makers and concocted a ventilator ducting system to cool her back-up generator on her 75ft trimaran B&Q.

She is now nearly 6,000 miles into her attempt to better the solo round-the-world record of 72 days and 22 hours set by the Frenchman Francis Joyon in February, but her lead has been cut to just over six hours. The boat's violent motion had prevented necessary repairs and she had only four hours sleep in the previous 48 as a lull in the weather allowed her to do the work.

"I feel pretty trashed and unsettled by all this," she said yesterday. "It's going to take a while for the pain to go away. I screamed out loud when I started the generator and it [the new ventilation system] worked."

The leaders, now 6,000 miles from Cape Horn, in the Vendée Globe round-the-world race have passed through the mandatory navigational gate 1,000 miles south-west of Fremantle, Western Australia, and are heading south again. The front five - Vincent Riou, Jean le Cam, Roland Jourdain, Sébastien Josse and Mike Golding - are all clear of a 60-knot storm.

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