Ellen MacArthur is now 1 day, 6 hours and 21 minutes ahead of Francis Joyon's global speed record

Ellen MacArthur is now 1 day, 6 hours and 21 minutes ahead of Francis Joyon’s global speed record. At a position of 45 10 S,108 02 E (715 miles SSW Cape Leeuwin, south-west tip of Australia) and doing an average speed of 17.81 knots MacArthur has built up her best advantage over the 11,881 miles she’s sailed so far.

According to a press report sent earlier today Ellen still has Christmas on hold. As 35-40 knot north-westerly winds swept through on Christmas Eve and through Christmas Day there’s not been an opportunity and her Christmas Box stored down below could not have been further from her mind.

Not surprisingly her focus was on self-preservation to get her 75ft trimaran B&Q and herself through the Force 8 gale, gusting 50 knots. On Christmas Day night, the brunt of the storm had passed over B&Q and the wind decreased to around 20-25 knots.

The records show Francis Joyon crossed the longitude of Cape Leeuwin at just 39 degrees south, as intense Southern Ocean storms were still preventing him from diving south to the shortest route. B&Q is approximately 370 miles to the south of his track today and this trend will continue for the next few days until converging again south of New Zealand. Joyon set a record solo time of 30 days, 7 hours and 29 minutes to Cape Leeuwin and Ellen will need to cross the Cape Leeuwin longitude, approximately 275 miles further east of her, by 15:39 GMT tomorrow [28 December].

At her current speed [last 24 hour run at 0710 GMT was 473 miles, only 8 miles under her best 24-hour run so far of 481 miles] and all going well, Ellen will hopefully be passing under Cape Leeuwin by late tonight. By pushing east ahead of the cold front MacArthur may get forced to sail a more southerly course as the winds turn more right into the north over the next 12-24 hours. However, she needs to avoid going to far south and risk being on the wrong side of the next potential storm coming this weekend. Winds mainly 30-35 knots from the north-west.

Ellen was devastated when she was told the news about the disaster in Asia. She says for her the Tsunami wave is barely noticeable. It is more like a giant high tide that only becomes a devastating wave when it hits shallow water. The thoughts of MacArthur and the whole team go out to those that have suffered in this terrible catastrophe.