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Monday, 3 February, 2003, 16:21 GMT
Tough times for MacArthur
Ellen MacArthur is skipper of a crew of 13 on Kingfisher 2
Kingfisher 2 is running well after last-minute repairs
Ellen MacArthur has been slowed down by light winds on her quest to break the Jules Verne round-the-world record.

After a lightning-quick start from France last week, the 26-year-old and her crew of 13 have hit unusually calm conditions en route to the equator.

"We've hit an unexpected light patch," MacArthur told BBC Sport Online on Monday.

I can only cross my fingers and hope we get some lucky breaks in the near future

Ellen MacArthur

"Where there are usually trade winds, we have found it almost calm and have had no choice but to sail through."

MacArthur is trying to improve the existing mark of 64 days set by Bruno Peyron in 2002.

But she must also better the time of French skipper Olivier de Kersauson, who is making good progress in a concurrent Jules Verne attempt.

MacArthur concedes it can be difficult watching her rival speed away, but remains patient on board Kingfisher 2.

"It does make it a bit more frustrating knowing that a rival boat is having better weather, but on a record attempt like this, you will get some bad days. And this is only day five of many."

Despite the difficulties, MacArthur continues to enjoy the challenge.

"The atmosphere onboard is amazing and no-one is saying 'forget this' - not for one second.

"Other than the wind, everything is running smoothly. We made a simple repair to the sail, which is fine. And everyone is upbeat and happy.

"I can only cross my fingers and hope we get some lucky breaks in the near future."

Ellen MacArthur's Jules Verne Trophy record bid

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