Ellen McArthur announces plans for Asian Record Circuit 9/2/06

Nearly a year to the day Ellen MacArthur made history in breaking the solo round the world record onboard her 75ft trimaran B&Q, she is embarking on a new venture with a different set of challenges into new territories on the Asian Record Circuit, incorporating the Tour of China.

Today sees that first step towards establishing a series of 12 new records. CMA-CGM Shipping, who are the official Shipping Partner for the Asia Tour, will load the trimaran B&Qon to the container ship the Bizet at Southampton today and start the 10,526-mile journey to Hong Kong.

The objective of the Asian Record Circuit is to establish a series of crewed record times between key Asian ports [or gates] including Japan, South Korea, from the north-east to the south-western tips of Chinese mainland and Taiwan, Malaysia, Vietnam and Singapore – it is a first of its kind for a major sailing campaign to take to these waters with the aim of setting benchmark times that can be challenged in the future by other sailors.

Ellen MacArthur, skipper comments: “On the 7 February 2005 we completed our goal to set a new solo world speed sailing record in a time of 71 days, 14 hours, 18 minutes and 33 seconds non-stop around the world. It was an extraordinary voyage and perhaps we did not expect to achieve this in our first attempt, but we did, and so we have been able to accelerate the programme. It has always been in our title sponsor B&Q’s objectives to develop a programme in Asia, in particular mainland China where they have 48 stores already, and so the Asian Record Circuit idea has evolved. To take the trimaran to new territories, to establish new records in a part of the world that is dominating global consciousness and where our partner B&Q already has a strong foothold, is very exciting. And this time, I will not be sailing on my own but with a crew and this is something I will enjoy immensely – to share the experience of sailing B&Q at her full potential. We will be able to push her 100 per cent and have set ourselves our own record ‘targets’ to beat.”

On arrival in Hong Kong, the trimaran will be unloaded and the crew will deliver her to Yokohama, Japan to start the record circuit. MacArthur will be attempting these records with a crew of four or five, including Chinese round the world sailor, Shaun Weng.

The Asian Record Circuit incorporates a Tour of mainland China utilising major Chinese ports including Dalian, Qingdao (sailing venue for the Olympic Games 2008), Shanghai, Hong Kong SAR and Sanya.

The Asian Record Circuit will also take in T’ai-pei, Taiwan, plus Malaysia and Singapore where the tour will finally come to an end. The two-month long record circuit kicks off on the 25 March, ending mid-May including stopover time in each port.

Itinery- Asian Record Circuit incorporating the Tour of China

25 March – 1 April 2006

Record 1: Yokohama, Japan to Jeju Island, South Korea

Target: 4 days, 18 hours

Record 2: Jeju Island, South Korea to Dalian, China

Target: 2 days 5 hours

Record 3: Total time Yokohama, Japan to Dalian, China

Target: 7 days, 1 hour

5-6 April 2006
Record 4: Dalian to Qingdao, China

Target: 1 day, 10 hours

9-11 April 2006
Record 5: Qingdao to Shanghai, China

Target: 1 day, 15 hours

16-18 April 2006
Record 6: Shanghai to T’ai-pei, Taiwan

Target: 3 days

21-23 April 2006
Record 7: T’ai-pei, Taiwan to Hong Kong SAR

Target: 2 days, 11 hours

From 1st May 2006
Record 8: Hong Kong SAR to Sanya (Hainan Island) China

Target: 1 day, 21 hours

Record 9: Sanya, China to Nah Trang, Vietnam
Target: 1 day, 21 hours

Record 10: Nah Trang, Vietnam to Terengganu, Malaysia
Target: 3 days

Record 11: Total time Hong Kong to Terengganu, Malaysia
Target: 6 days, 17 hours

Record 12: Terengganu, Malaysia to Singapore
Target: 1 day, 11 hours

The trimaran B&Q will return via CMA-CGM shipping on 23 May.