Ellen MacArthur and her team are standing by for a possible Sunday departure

Ready to go?

On Thurday morning Team Kingfisher issued an amber alert for Kingfisher 2’s Jules Verne attempt, recalling crew from all over Europe between Swden and Spain. Amber alert means the crew have to return to their Lorient base and be ready for departure within 24 hours.

Ellen has been in Germany with Kingfisher’s weather router Dr Meeno Schrader and a possible departure window has been identified for Sunday. An area of high pressure developing in the western approaches could create the northerlies the team need if they are to get anywhere close to Geronimo’s record sprint to the equator. ‘There is a 60% to 70% chance of departure so we have asked all the crew to return to Lorient by Sunday”, said Ellen.

Geronimo, now on her 12th day at sea, has kept up her phenomenal pace, despite having to keep well to the west of the South Atlantic because of the extent of the St Helena High. She has now turned east towards the Cape of Good Hope. On day 12 she covered 459 miles, an average of 19.12 knots, having completed 5790 miles so far, that’s 20.1 knots average, reason enough for Ellen and her team to be anxious to leave as soon as conditions look favourable.

It is reckoned that the record is unlikely to be determined in the Southern Ocean itself as the maxi multihulls ride the backs of the huge depressions that track unhindered round to lonely wastes at the bottom of the planet. The really strategic part of the challenge is in heading down, or back up the Atlantic, so Geronimo is already well on track for a record. It waits to be seen whether Kingfisher can better that time without risking the boat.