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 Tuesday, 14 January, 2003, 23:27 GMT
Jules Verne route guide
Ellen MacArthur's Jules Verne attempt will follow an easterly course around the world in the direction of the prevailing winds.

The route starts and finishes off Ushant, France, and leaves South Africa's Cape of Good Hope and South America's Cape Horn to port (left).

Here, Ellen tells BBC Sport Online about the nature of each section of the voyage.


1. South through the Atlantic

We have the advantage of being able to pick and choose our weather for the opening drag from France towards the Tropic of Cancer.

If we catch a good following wind, we could make it to the Doldrums - a low wind area straddling the equator - within a week or so.

And that is where the first real challenge lies - it is not unusual to be becalmed for hours or even days.

We must do our best to ensure that this does not happen, but it is notoriously difficult to predict the weather here.

If we can escape quickly, it could set up our record attempt nicely.


2. Southern Ocean - Cape of Good Hope to Australia.

The Saint Helena high pressure system should sweep us down to the Southern Ocean, where the first task is to round the Cape of Good Hope.

If we have reached the southern seas within two weeks, that will be a very positive sign, but perhaps two-and-a-half weeks is more realistic.

Then it's full speed ahead towards Australia and, in theory, the going should be good and downwind at this stage of the attempt.

But, it is possible to make a misjudgement and lose the following wind, and disaster is never far away in this remote region of the world.

If we end up on the wrong side of a depression, we'll face frighteningly big seas, storms and even icebergs.


3. Southern Ocean - Australia to Cape Horn

The second half of our Southern Ocean trawl takes us across the International Dateline from the Pacific Islands area towards South America.

Cape Horn presents the next daunting challenge.

It is dangerous to get too close to land, where the waves can be huge, but we cannot afford to stray too far for fear of losing time.

Once this obstacle has been safely negotiated, we hope to pick up strong winds in the vicinity of the Falkand Islands that will bear us back towards the Equator.


4. North through the Atlantic

Our second passage through the Doldrums could be tricky.

It can be tougher making progress through this low-wind area from south to north, but - once again - much depends on luck.

When we come out of the other end, we'll be ready for the final push.

And, all being well, the breeze will freshen up and we'll ride home on the back of some northern hemisphere spring depressions.

Ellen MacArthur's Jules Verne Trophy record bid

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