The window of opportunity for Ellen MacArthur's attempt on the solo transatlantic record attempt has come to an end
After seven weeks on standby in New York for Ellen MacArthur’s attempt on the solo transatlantic record, the window of opportunity has now come to an end. In order to break this record Ellen needed a perfect weather system, a strong depression, which she could hook into and ride all the way to the mouth of the English Channel – unfortunately this just hasn’t developed and Ellen will have to wait for another opportunity in the future.
B&Q has been on standby during a particularly active hurricane season, which has played havoc with the North Atlantic weather. The de-stabilising effects of the hurricanes and tropical storms have prevented the normal pattern forming. It has never been an easy record to break – Laurent Bourgnon’s seven-day record stood for over ten years before Francis Joyon destroyed it last June. The incredible pace set by Joyon means that an attempt in anything other than perfect conditions would have been futile.
“We are all very disappointed to not have the opportunity to attempt this record. We needed a perfect weather system to stand a chance of breaking this record, unfortunately on this occasion, this system just didn’t appear,” commented Ellen. “Joyon really raised the bar and it is a challenge that I hope to have another go at in the future”.
The shore team in New York will now install the engine (removed to save weight) and reload supplies to prepare the 75ft trimaran B&Q for the 2,800-mile delivery trip back to the UK. At present she should be ready to depart, weather depending at the beginning of next week (24 October).
Now that the standby period has ended Ellen will be focusing all of her attention to the two-handed Transat Jacques Vabre race, which begins in Le Havre on the 5 November, finishing in Brazil approximately 16-18 days later. Ellen will be racing on board the 60ft monohull Sill et Veolia with French skipper Roland Jourdain. Ellen had already been utilising some of her standby time to train for the Transat Jacques Vabre and now she will be focusing all her attention on this project. “It’s two years since I last raced in a fleet, rather than just against the clock, so I’m really looking forward to the Transat Jacques Vabre. In particular to sail in the IMOCA Open 60 fleet again and with Bilou (aka Roland Jourdain) who has been both a friend and a rival since 1999.”