Having taken a dramatic southerly course, Ellen MacArthur is now back on track reaching speeds of over 22kts

Ellen MacArthur, on her solo transatlantic record, is now sailing at blistering speed along the direct route and for the past few hours has been maintaining speeds of over 22kts. She’s now 23 hours behind Bourgnon at this stage of the challenge.

Having taken a dramatic southerly course in an effort to skirt the low-pressure system, MacArthur gybed and is now back on track. Commenting from the boat MacArthur said: “I spent the night worrying in the cuddy, but have decided to go to bed now as I’m not achieving anything on deck. The problem now is getting thrown out of my bunk, but if we can hold these speeds we’re on fire.”

MacArthur is now approaching the halfway mark in terms of miles (total 2,925 miles) and time (now in to day 4) which makes the chance of record is still possible.

MacArthur updated Offshore Challenges on the situation early this morning: “We’re doing 23-25 knots straight down the track, 22 knots of breeze, full main and Solent, totally powered up. “Hoping breeze doesn’t increase, as I’ll have to take Solent [mid-size headsail] down. Hard to judge when to take it down. If I have to change then the chance of breaking record will diminish…so pushing to the limit! [Alarm going off in background, its a wind alarm set to alert Ellen when wind peaks at maximum for a sail combination to take, in theory]….wind at 24 knots….it would be so easy to ignore the alarm and curl up the warm generator and go to sleep. To set the record, MacArthur will have to cross the finish line by 00:44:42 GMT on Tuseday 29 June 2004.

Statistics at 0800GMT 25 June

Elapsed time: 3d 9h 50m

Ahead/behind record: -391 miles, 22hr 49min behind

Existing record: 7d 2h 34m 42s

Distance covered: 1190

Distance to finish: 1665

Position: 38 56 07N; 41 22 31W

Average boat speed (VMG) towards finish so far: 14.51

Average boat speed (VMG) now required to beat record: 18.70

Current boat speed: 23 knots