Ellen MacArthur plans to have a new 75ft trimaran built for a series of single-handed record attempts

Kingfisher plc has announced the next step in Ellen MacArthur’s sailing programme. Flying the colours of Kingfisher-owned business, B&Q, Ellen will oversee the design and construction of a new 75-foot [22.8m] ‘solo’ trimaran which will be entered into a campaign of single-handed record attempts in 2004/5

The new 75-foot trimaran is being designed by French based, British naval architect Nigel Irens in conjunction with the Offshore Challenges technical team. The giant three-hulled ‘flying machine’ will be sailed single-handed by Ellen, and will be designed with a single focus – solo records. Without the constraints of class rules or grand prix racing, the boat has been conceived with trans-ocean passages in mind, and fully optimised, much like the monohull Kingfisher was, for solo sailing. The concept is built around trying to achieve high daily average speeds in a variety of conditions, coupled with safety and reliability, in equal measure.

Construction will start at the end of April in Australia. Constructing the new solo trimaran in the Southern Hemisphere will allow Ellen to use the return voyage to Europe as part of a vigorous training campaign and potentially set a solo record at some point on the return.

Nigel Irens commented: “I have worked with and known Ellen for many years, designing a boat like this for her is an incredible, and exciting challenge…in particular having a blank sheet of paper without the restrictions of a rule (most classes of boat restrict how a boat may be designed or built) allows us to explore the best combination of performance, safety and reliability.”