21 April 2004


It has been a 15000 mile delivery trip from Auckland, New Zealand to Newport, Rhode Island. Both Ellen and B&Q have been tested in many varying conditions, through the Southern Ocean and the Atlantic. It is the first time Ellen has been sailing solo since the Route Du Rhum in 2002, and she is stepping up to another level on board B&Q.

"Though physically demanding, she is a joy to sail, and I really am very pleased with how she performs in various conditions and under pilot. In big waves she is unbelievable - skimming over them, haring down them - seemingly never sticking her leeward float in and stopping. She is showing everyday what an amazing boat the team has built"

Sailing the new 75ft Nigel Iren's designed trimaran has allowed Ellen to step up to a whole new challenge from her previous experiences on Kingfisher.

"Life is very different onboard B&Q, there is very little time to relax. All the time in the back of your mind is the fact that one mistake and the consequences could be really bad. On the monohull, you can make some mistakes, the boat can get laid flat and you have a good chance of coming out of ok. That margin doesn't exist on the trimaran. That makes for a stressful time 24/7. Physically, as expected, manoeuvres are tough. Re-hoisting the mainsail for example is a 35 minute full on, exhausting grind. This is a new level of physical challenge for me. I am ready for this though, and I think we have made the right choices in terms of how big a boat I can manage on my own, any bigger would have been too much"

One of the hardest issues to manage in this environment is the rhythm of life on board. In order to keep to a consistent and productive rhythm the sailors must manage their sleep efficiently and be aware of when they are becoming sleep deprived. Ellen's average sleep of just over 3 hours every 24, confirms that her ability to take short naps to recharge her energy is working again. Or several years Ellen has been a student of Dr. Claudio Stampi of the Chronobiology Research institute associated with Harvard University, their work on this project is ongoing.

"Life on board B&Q is good. She feels very much like my little home, and though I am looking forward finally to getting home and seeing my friends and family, I will also be sad to leave her waiting to go in New York. The good news is that she'll be raring to go and hopefully we'll be able to cross the Atlantic for our real homecoming together with a good turn of speed"


RED: No obvious weather window in sight, Ellen not necessarily with the trimaran
AMBER: 60 to 70% chance of departure in next 72 hours, Ellen with the trimaran in USA
GREEN: Intention to depart within 36 hours

For further information, email lucy@offshorechallenges.com

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