Sailing: Winds stifle MacArthur's progress

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The Independent Online

Heading into an overnight gale and due to charge through the first 1,000-mile marker, Ellen MacArthur - despite huge efforts aboard her 75-foot trimaran B&Q - was only just in touch with the schedule, two hours adrift, as she attempted to set a new record for sailing solo round the world.

Heading into an overnight gale and due to charge through the first 1,000-mile marker, Ellen MacArthur - despite huge efforts aboard her 75-foot trimaran B&Q - was only just in touch with the schedule, two hours adrift, as she attempted to set a new record for sailing solo round the world.

The target of 72 days, 22 hours, 54 minutes and 22 seconds was set by Francis Joyon of France earlier this year.

At one time yesterday she delayed setting extra sail as winds went light and then, after the decision had been taken, she quickly became overpowered as the breeze strengthened. "You push all the time in your head, but is it the right thing for the record?" she mused from the boat. "Should I just grunt up?"

After 48 hours she felt she was not far enough into the challenge to see how she was performing against Joyon but added, "If I'm not doing enough, I'll have to do more."

Meanwhile, with the top-five solo sailors in the Vendée Globe round-the-world race having all now passed south of the Cape of Good Hope overnight, nearly 10,000 miles of non-stop, high-speed sailing beckons until they reach Cape Horn.

Their positions are relatively stable with Vincent Riou holding a 30-mile advantage over Jean le Cam. Roland Jourdain and Sebastien Josse are 320 to 350 miles behind in third and fourth respectively and Mike Golding, making fast progress, is 500 miles behind in fifth. Alex Thomson is 330 miles back in sixth with Conrad Humphreys, attacking a 1,280-mile deficit, in 10th.

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