Ellen MacArthur's new 75ft B&Q trimaran left Auckland on Saturday to start the delivery trip back to Europe

After six weeks of boat testing and some long, long hours of preparation, Ellen MacArthur’s new 75ft B&Q trimaran left Auckland on Saturday to start the delivery trip back to Europe.

For skipper, MacArthur, and her crew – Loik Gallon from north-west Brittany and Mark Thomas from Perth, Australia – it will be the first real test for the boat in Southern Ocean conditions. Ellen and the crew will be heading for the Falkland Islands which, if the conditions are good, will take around 15 days. From there Loik and Mark will leave B&Q to Ellen to sail singlehanded.

Ellen sent the following email after their departure: “So good to be out here again. We’re sailing under a clear sky, with about 6 knots of wind… gennaker and full moon. It’s been a massive challenge to get B&Q out of Auckland, but it’s wonderful that we’ve made it. Just wish that everyone involved could be here to see what we can see now.”

B&Q left Auckland in a light 8-10 knots south-east breeze – the high pressure is predicted to move east and the crew will face their first frustration – not much wind. But, in reality, a couple of days of light winds will give them time to recover from the long hours and set themselves up for when they get down south and start feeling the first real conditions of the Southern Ocean.

As the trimaran left Auckland, Ellen said goodbye to the shore team, headed up by Project Manager Oli Allard, that had made such a huge effort to get B&Q ready.

“I am sort of numb by the work done for the last few days, the lack of sleep and numb as I have lost the thing that has been pushing me, challenging me and rewarding me many times over,” said Oli. “Ellen was very calm this morning [Saturday] she got the weather and got onboard for a final check, thinking a lot but smiling and looking very eager to get out there. Mark and Loik also cruising through there morning preparation. There was no sign of rush or panic, no last minute urgent delivery.