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Last Updated: Tuesday, 3 February, 2004, 15:21 GMT
MacArthur hails solo feat
Ellen MacArthur
Ellen MacArthur has proclaimed Francis Joyon's round-the-world solo sailing record as "extraordinary".

The 47-year-old completed his non-stop feat in his 90ft trimaran IDEC in 72 days, 22 hours and 22 seconds.

He shattered the previous mark, set by countryman Michel Desjoyeaux in winning the 2001 Vendee Globe, by 20 days.

"It's incredible what Francis has done. He has completed something not only extraordinary, but in an incredibly successful way," said MacArthur.

"What people don't realise is just how few multihulls have made it around the world non-stop.

"To complete a solo voyage is an incredible feat - to complete it in the time Francis has just goes to show what is achievable with determination, strength and courage.

"He has managed to sail with averages [speeds] similar to that of a fully-crewed boat.

"It takes someone fairly special to do that."

The British yachtswoman is in Auckland, New Zealand, testing her new record-chasing trimaran B&Q Castorama.

The 75ft vessel was launched in January to break solo speed sailing records, including the 24-hour distance mark and trans-Atlantic record.

MacArthur insists she has no firm plans to attempt Joyon's record yet, but she admitted that it could be a possibility in the future.

"My target objectives are very simple," she said.

"They are to get B&Q ready here in Auckland and to get out into the Southern Ocean and test her.

I can't wait to get out there
Ellen MacArthur

"My sights are firmly set on getting home for the trans-Atlantic record which is without doubt our first goal.

"With regards to the round-the-world record attempt, all I can say for now is that we shall see.

"I have always maintained that we want to test her thoroughly in the conditions she would see in a round-the- world record attempt.

"Then [we can] make the call about how capable a vessel we think she is for that particular race course once we have been out there.

"B&Q has been designed with that in mind - we now have to go out there and see if she is up to it.

"I can't wait to get out there."

The BBC's Allan Little
"No-one thought it could be done in less than 80 days"

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