Light airs have failed to make significant changes to Ellen MacArthur's super-fast time around the world
Lighter conditions have slowed the progress of Ellen MacArthur on her global speed record aboard the 75ft trimaran B&Q. She is still well ahead of Francis Joyon’s record (4 days 18 hours 4 minutes ahead) but is preparing for more tough conditions as she approaches the unstable South Atlantic weather systems. She’s now 265 miles north-north-east of the Falkland Islands and 385 miles from the Argentinian coast heading in a north-easterly direction.
According to the Offshore Challenge office the wind speeds have stabilized to 17-20 knots from a westerly direction but since midnight the breeze gradually abated to as little as a 9 knot average at 0400hrs this morning.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. Although B&Q is 15ft shorter than Francis Joyon’s IDEC and has less sail area, she is substantially lighter – weighting in at just 8.3 tonnes compared to IDEC’s 16 tonnes, so in the lighter conditions she should go slightly faster.
Looking ahead MacArthur hopes to sail north as fast as possible to avoid the lighter breeze that is sliding east today. According to Commanders’ Weather, the wind will clock further right into the north-north-north-west later today and increase in speed between 16-22 knots, ahead of the approaching low pressure system from the west. The low will move south-east along the frontal zone tomorrow and wind speeds will come up to 25-35 knots and some squalls holding 40-50 knots – these conditions will force MacArthur further east.