Ellen MacArthur has failed to beat the solo transatlatic speed record by just 75 minutes

After battling across the Atlantic for the past week aboard the 75ft trimaran B&Q Ellen MacArthur has missed out on breaking the solo transatlantic west-east speed record by 75 minutes.

MacArthur, who yesterday looked as though she was going to break Laurent Bourgnon’s 10-year-old record of 7 days, 2 hours, 42 minutes, lost out when the wind dropped to 15kts and shifted in the closing stages which necessitated an extra gybe. She eventually crossed the Lizard finish line 01:59:57 GMT this morning having started from Ambrose Light, New York (USA) on Monday 21 June at 2210 GMT completing the 2,925-mile course in 7 days, 3 hours, 49 minutes 57 seconds.

Speaking from the boat this morning MacArthur said: “It’s sad. I’ve put so much in to this record attempt. I’ve given it everything I’ve got. If I think of all the times I could have gained a few minutes, of times I’ve made small errors, it’s very frustrating. But I’ve learnt huge amounts about myself and the boat. I never imagined being able to push her so hard. And I also haven’t pushed myself that hard before, maybe not even in the Vendée Globe. I don’t think I’ve slept for more than 12 hours in total since New York…

“… I certainly couldn’t have pushed any harder, that’s for sure. In the closing stages, the biggest problem was the wind direction, we had to make one extra gybe and during that time while heading to the north we were not making much ground to the finish, but we had no choice to keep the stronger wind. At the end of the day the ‘Wind Gods’ were in control, not me. Two days ago I did actually think it was over, but we came back and got back in the game again. I had started to believe we were going to do it, but clearly it wasn’t to be – this time.”

News from the Offshore Challenge base this morning is whether MacArthur will consider making a winter attempt on the round the world record currently held by Francis Joyon on the 90ft trimaran IDEC. Joyon who broke the world record 3 February this year with a time of 72 days, 22 hours, 54 mins, 22 secs, knocked 20 days off the previous speed record.