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Friday, 31 January, 2003, 12:51 GMT
Can MacArthur beat the record?
Can Ellen MacArthur set a new standard in sailing?
Ellen MacArthur is attempting to sail around the world in under 64 days.

Can she do it?

Have your say After her heroic victory in the Route du Rhum last year Ellen MacArthur has a new challenge in her sights.

The British yachtswoman is aiming to break the round-the-world sailing record which currently stands at 64 days.

MacArthur and her crew of 13 set off from Ushant in France on January 30 on a voyage that will take them around the southern tip of Australia and past Cape Horn in South America.

After stalling off the coast of Brazil last week, Kingfisher 2 has surged through the Southern Ocean to get the record attempt back on track.

Can MacArthur beat Frenchman Bruno Peyron's record set in May last year?

Have your say

I believe Ellen is capable of anything she sets her heart on. After reading her new book the realisation of her determination and passion for the sport has become so clear to me.

I believe Ellen is one in a million and has touched the hearts of so many people through her success. Even if she does not beat the existing record she should be so proud of everything she has achieved over the last ten years or so. Good Luck Ellen.
Ed Smith, England

She certainly could beat the current record. She (and her crew) are tough enough, and she's sailing the boat that currently holds the record.

However, she could equally fail. This attempt pushes both the crew and current technology to their limits, and depends critically on a certain amount of luck with the weather.

She's also unlikely to beat de Kersauson's time because he has a better boat and seems to be having better luck with the weather.

It won't make her a poor sailor, or a failure, if she fails to beat the record. It won't even make her a poor sailor or a failure even if she loses the boat.

But British sponsors seem to expect success every time. It makes it harder that she's a woman - there will be even more people keen to 'cut her down to size' if she doesn't break the record.

She is a most determined lady, but the weather will probably have the last say

John Wright, England

It's because of this attitude that the French are doing so much better than us in offshore racing these days. Team Phillips may have been an innovation too far, but no-one has trusted Pete Goss with a boat since.

This trip should really be seen as preparation for next year's Race, when Ellen will have more experience and a better boat (but I still think PlayStation will win).
Simon Brooke, Scotland

She is a most determined lady, but the weather will probably have the last say. I think that her will to win will make it a close run thing.
John Wright, England

I believe that in the right conditions Ellen MacArthur is the best sailor out there with a brilliant boat and crew. She can do it!
Phil Slade, UK

Ellen and her crew certainly have the skills and equipment to set the record but it requires an equal amount of luck. She just isn't having any right now. Her chances do not look good.
Robert Blackburn, USA

No way - she's bitten off more than she can chew this time.
Charlotte, UK

If you and the crew stop now you will never know if you could have broken the record - for my money, bite the bullet and go for it.
B Geldard, England

It will be close, but I am sure Ellen can do it if the wind holds. Kingfisher 2 is an awesome boat and Ellen a tenacious character.

I am sure that if she doesn't do it this time, she will be back for another go. Good luck to her!
Simon, New Zealand

I think that Ellen will circumnavigate the world in under 64 days. She has gained a lot of experience since the Vendée Globe and Route du Rhum. She also has a great crew with her.

I am a great fan of Ellen and what she has done. She inspires me a great deal and I hope that she will succeed in her attempt.
Becky Trivett, England

It will come down to speed upwind. The boat which points higher, gets wind shift info from weather buoys in advance and maintains the others boat speed will come out on top.

This was the reason for the last Cup wind, and unfortunately von Cootes and Buttermilch know that. They have shared this knowledge with the Swiss......its enough to put you off Nestle for life!
Chris, NZ, NZ

She is an outstanding sailor

Rodolphe Herve, France
Good to see Jason from Aussie seems to have forgotten sport is about winning and not about money. You should move to the states. Seem to have the same train of thoughts. Naturally, we're going to try and win it, because that's what it's about....winning.
Matt, UK

Course she'll do it, she's not got blood in her veins its salt water! I think with the weather change she's got a good chance. Belief is everything and she's got plenty of that and it's sure to rub off on the crew, who lets not forget play a large part in this race as well.

Tiaraidh an drasda (bye for now) and no matter where Ellen goes tha a' ghrian a' dearrsadh! (the sun is shining)
Lisa McGirr, Scotland

She is an outstanding sailor, has a very good boat and the Jules Verne record is probably out there for grab. However, why do you fail to mention that she is not only racing against time but also against another boat, Geronimo, skipped by O de Kersauson, whom started two weeks before she did? This should provide a very exciting finish for both.
Rodolphe Herve, France

Of course she can. She is a woman made of steel, and if she doesn't do it this time, she'll be back and succeed the next time.
Roger Thomas, Andover UK

She will beat the Orange time, but she is now unlikely to beat Olivier de Kersauson. He probably has a better boat and his experience will show through. Good luck to them and better luck with the conditions must be due anytime now.
Datybobs, UK

The very best of luck to Ellen and her crew, if they don't beat the record it won't be for a lack of skill and determination.
Ian Sinclair, England

I'd love to see her do it, but as a former circumnavigator I have my doubts

William Wallace, Spain

She will probably come up in the first three. But what a life! I admire her courage to an extent, but then you have to ask, how much is she a driven person? At her age, she'll have nothing left to achieve in a few years. How could she ever have a normal life?
Michael Cooney, Northern Ireland

I'd love to see her do it, but as a former circumnavigator I have my doubts. She has a strong team and a good boat but seven hours in 48 is a big loss which will be hard to make up.

Also you must remember that she is working with three-year-old technology, not much in real terms but a mountain in terms of advance.

I really think that had the attempt been serious then Kingfisher would have brought forward the funds for a new boat, built to a new design, and with the most modern technology to date.

At the end of the day, good luck Ellen, but I doubt your abilities in comparison to Bruno Peyron who is the record holder in the same boat.
William Wallace, Spain

Ellen's attempt at the fastest around the world is entirely possible as long as nothing breaks and the weather is favourable. She and the crew have the grit to do this although the French in Geromino are doing very well. We should all be proud of Ellen - the fighting spirit is still there.
John Pinniger, UK

"Where there's a will is a way" and that is absolutely valid for Ellen and her crew. This time she can show her leadership strengths. Humble is every sailor, since the sea/nature will always be stronger. She knows. I have a tremendous respect for Ellen and how she uses her talent to the benefit of others.
Marijke Korteweg, UK

She is a true hero and I wish her, and the crew, all the best

Richard Stringfellow, UK

Can she do it? Sure, she is an excellent sailor and is passionate.

Is it likely? I think she has many odds stacked against her. Her boat is excellent, current record holder, but she had some late repairs done to her and she is starting in very rough seas which will use the equipment ahead of the Great South. Regarding the human side, she has less experience in handling a crew in very trying conditions.

She can do it but I think this attempt will only be a trial run for next year's attempt where she will be very well equipped to succeed. With such a pattern she will join superlative sailors like Sir Peter Blake (second attempt) Olivier de Kersauzon (third or fourth attempt). Sure, if she wants it she will get it but she might have to try a second time. Good luck.
Philippe Dewez, France

I have strong belief that Ellen will break the record. Her inspirational autobiography sums up all that Ellen is about - getting out there and getting stuck in. She is a true hero and I wish her, and the crew, all the best - bring sailing home!
Richard Stringfellow, UK

There's no doubt Ellen MacArthur has the ability to beat the existing record, but Olivier de Kersauson has far more experience in multi-hull sailing and is likely to put down a pretty stiff marker.

It's also worth noting that Ellen doesn't have that much experience managing a team, and this is where her relative youth could against her. Finally, there's the boat itself, which is already slightly damaged ... all in all, I think it's a very big ask.
Luke Myers, London

If anyone can, Ellen can!

Stuart, Cardiff, UK

Ellen will do this, why? She has the guts and determination and she is doing something she loves.
Maria, England

Can Ellen do it? Of course she can. Ellen is a fantastic young lady who is dedicated to the task in hand, she has a very experienced crew and the only way they will not break the record is if some sort of incident befalls them of which they have no control.

This once great country of ours needs more young people with such personal drive and inspiration as Ellen and her crew have. If this was the case then this country could raise its head high and not depend on Europe or America just to keep up with the rest of the world.

Good Luck, God Speed, and come home soon! From a 60-year-old who has always lived near the sea, loves the sea, but has never been fortunate enough to have sailed or been out in any small boat, so you are all living my dream for me. Enjoy and grasp the rewards.
Mike Holes, England

If anyone can, Ellen can!
Stuart, Cardiff, UK

I think Ellen MacArthur is an inspirational figure and can lead her team on to beat the 64 day record. Although it will be very tough I believe she is the person capable of doing it.
Sophie Allsopp, Herts, UK

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