Ellen and her crew on B&Q set a new record in France - all to help promote the French equivalent to the RNLI

Ellen MacArthur and her 4-man crew on board the trimaran B&Q finished the record SNSM at 18:32:16 GMT (19:32:16 BST) today (Tuesday, 3.5.05) after completing the 284 mile passage from St Nazaire to St Malo, France. They have established a new record for the Maxi class category of 1 day, 3 hours, 23 minutes and 29 seconds.

B&Q started the record yesterday off St Nazaire at 15:08:47 GMT in light conditions which increased to around 15 knots of breeze approaching Belle Ille. Then east of Belle Ille an unexpected big increase in wind and direction forced an about turn: “The wind increased to 40 knots in just 8 minutes and shifted by 60 degrees as we made a transition through a front caused by a small complicated low to the west of us.  We had no choice but to go back the way we came and run with it while we reduced sail,” said Ellen.  Through the night the wind strength was inconsistent demanding between 8-9 sail changes by the crew although a good wind direction from the south-west allowed B&Q to sail a pretty direct course towards Ushant. By 0800 BST this morning, B&Q was rounding Ushant sailing deep downwind at around 14 knots before gybying to reach along the north coast of France to St Malo: “It has been a great day’s sailing today with either a full sail or 1 reef and gennaker but conditions last night weren’t ideal for record pace. It’s good to have arrived in St Malo. It’s been a great experience and well worthwhile doing to help promote the SNSM.”

The Record SNSM is a 284 miles passage, passing the coasts of Loire Atlantique in Pays de Loire then the coasts of Brittany.  This course highlights the 56 SNSM stations between Saint-Nazaire and Saint-Malo. The Socient Nationale de Sauvetage en Mer (SNSM) is the equivalent of the RNLI in the UK, and just like the RNLI is funded solely by public donations.    

Thomas Coville on Sodebo established a new Record SNSM for the ORMA 60 class on the 20 April in a time of 1 day, 1 hour, 37 minutes and 17 seconds at an average speed of 11.04 knots.

B&Q crew: Ellen MacArthur Loik Gallon Charles Darbyshire Rudi Steiness Christian Pollet (cameraman)