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Last Updated:  Wednesday, 19 February, 2003, 16:53 GMT
Ellen shakes off collision
Crew on board Kingfisher 2. Photo: Team Kingfisher
Kingfisher needed repair work after the crash
Ellen MacArthur's giant catamaran Kingfisher 2 collided with a submerged object in the Southern Ocean on Tuesday evening but suffered minimal damage.

MacArthur was on day 21 of her bid to break the Jules Verne record for sailing non-stop around the world when the drama occurred south of the Cape of Good Hope.

"During the night suddenly there was a load bang, and the boat shuddered. We had hit something with the starboard rudder," said MacArthur.

"We slowed the boat down to check, and we've a little repair to do on the fixings but it appears not to be a major problem, thankfully.

First thoughts are, you could be sinking here
Kingfisher 2's Neal McDonald

"We don't know what it was but hitting any object at speed is always a concern."

Watch leader Neal McDonald added: "First thoughts are, you could be sinking here - a major concern, but we ascertained that we weren't and then checked the whole boat for damage.

"In retrospect we were very lucky."

MacArthur, 26, and her 13-strong team are trying to break the record of just over 64 days, set by Frenchman Bruno Peyron on Orange last May.

At 0700 GMT on Wednesday, Kingfisher 2 was just 30 minutes behind schedule.

But the team are also focusing on 57-year-old Frenchman Olivier de Kersauson, who set off to break the record two weeks earlier in his giant trimaran Geronimo.

De Kersauson is about 50 hours ahead of Kingfisher 2 but MacArthur's team have enjoyed fast Southern Ocean conditions and posted five straight 500-mile days to close the gap.

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