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Wednesday, 19 February, 2003, 16:15 GMT
Ellen speeds south
Kingfisher 2
Kingfisher 2 has picked up speed again
Ellen MacArthur's attempt to beat the round-the-world sailing record is back on course.

Kingfisher 2 has been skipping through the Southern Ocean in heavy winds and is now only a few hours off the pace of record holder Orange after 16 days at sea.

But MacArthur's boat still trails Geronimo, the French trimaran which is also aiming to beat the Jules Verne record set by Bruno Peyron last year.

My big worry is whether we gybed too late this morning

Ellen MacArthur

After stalling off the coast of Brazil earlier in the week, Kingfisher 2 has surged torwards the Cape of Good Hope.

But Geronimo, which set off two weeks before Kingfisher 2, is nearly 75 hours ahead of MacArthur.

"It's been an exhausting 36 hours," said MacArthur. "I didn't sleep between five yesterday morning and this afternoon.

"Right now things are pretty full on - we're doing 35 knots.

"My big worry is whether we gybed too late this morning, which is why we are so fast, trying to get north to position ourselves to avoid the worst of the big storm coming up behind.

"Unfortunately, it means we have to sail high to be safer to the north, and then dive back south again in 48 hours time."

The Jules Verne record for sailing non-stop around the world is just over 64 days set by Frenchman Peyron and his crew on the giant catamaran Orange in May 2002.

Ellen MacArthur's Jules Verne Trophy record bid

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