Ellen MacArthur is behind schedule on her solo transatlatic record attempt but is looking set to pull out all the stops in the next few hours

Despite covering a total of over 700 miles at an average speed of 14.3kts, Ellen MacArthur sailing her 75ft trimaran B&Q is trailing Laurent Bourgnon’s time by 15 hours at this stage of her solo transatlantic record attempt.

She is however, currently sailing just in front of a fast-approaching cold front with winds up to 30kts. This should help her remain on track particularly if she hangs on to this depression all the way to the English Channel.

Commenting from the boat in conditions she described as very stressful, MacArthur said: “Its exactly the weather system we were waiting for; going 28 knots over the ground, 23-24 knots of boatspeed with a really strong Gulf Stream pushing us along. I’m really having to put my foot down to stay with this depression that is going over the top of us. Got to push hard; this is the fastest I have ever sailed on my own, it’s stressful, being thrown around, but boat handling well, got one reef in, need to get a second one in soon.

“…We’re going so fast, can’t afford to miss anything, and I’m scared of breaking things. It’s hard to sleep. Got no will to eat, but just have to look after the basics. It’s very, very stressful, you just spend your whole time hoping something doesn’t break. Conditions change very quickly. You can’t afford to break anything but equally you can’t afford not to be pushing hard.”

To break Laurent Bourgnon’s record of 7d 2h 34m 42s aboard the 60ft trimaran Primagaz, MacArthur will have to cross the Lizard Point finish line by 00:34:42 GMT on Tuesday 29 June 2004.