Ellen MacArthur is now nearly five days ahead of the global speed record but she's currently suffering with violent squalls just west of the Falklands

Ellen MacArthur is now nearly five days ahead of Francis Joyon’s record breaking global speed record. She’s rounded Cape Horn and is clocking up an average boat speed of 19.08kts in 21kts of west-south-westerly winds, 70 miles west of the western Falkland Islands.

Having rounded the Horn in 40-50 knots yesterday which forced MacArthur to drop the main, conditions are still causing concern. Violent squalls, similar conditions to those currently being experienced by the leaders of the Vendee Globe fleet, are making life extremely tough aboard B&Q. Chatting from the B&Q this morning MacArthur said: “I can’t believe last night… the wind all but disappeared, at one point I only had 3 knots and the breeze did a full 360 as the westerly breeze and south-westerly breeze split – impossible to predict and not at all forecast, totally unexpected.

“Last night I got the main back up with three reefs in about 35 knots of breeze, then in the early hours of this morning I sat there with 3 reefs expecting 40 knots but ended up with just 3 knots! I didn’t know what to do – this was not forecast and I knew that if I put full sail up and we got hit by 40 knots we would be in big trouble…”

According to the Offshore Challenge office MacArthur rang back two hours later to explain: “I’ve gone for more sail, I couldn’t wait anymore, and breeze is building all the time. Sorry, got to go we’ve got 35 knots…”