Ellen MacArthur's next solo project was realised today, January 8 2004, with the launch of the new 75-foot trimaran in Sydney, Australia. The new Nigel Irens designed trimaran will race under the colours of her principle title sponsor, B&Q: "B&Q is proud to support Ellen, but actually we feel that we are more than just a sponsor as we've been involved in this boat from the beginning and our range of Power Tools has played such a vital role in helping to build the new B&Q trimaran," said B&Q's Marketing Director, David Roth.
The B&Q trimaran has been constructed with one sole objective to attempt to set new solo speed sailing records. MacArthur will attempt to set a number of new records, such as, the 24-hour record, trans-Atlantic record, round Britain, Shanghai-London (based on the Clipper tall-ships route) with the long-term goal of setting a new non-stop round the world record: "We have built what we hope will be a record-breaking boat that can set new solo speed records," said MacArthur. "The process of setting new world solo speed records is incredibly challenging but it is a step by step process beginning with an extensive boat testing programme in Auckland."
MacArthur will sail the new trimaran from Sydney to Auckland in the next few days subject to the weather to begin the period of boat testing before setting sail on her maiden solo voyage from Cape Horn back to Europe departing New Zealand in March.
The launch is the culmination of a long-held dream that began after MacArthur completed the solo, non-stop round the world Vend?e Globe race in 2001 when she finished second becoming the fastest woman to race, non-stop around the world in 94 days, 4 hours, 25 minutes and 40 seconds. Record attempts will take MacArthur away from the world of competitive solo and crewed racing that has dominated her life over the last three years: "For me, racing against the clock is as rewarding as racing against others, and there is always the continuous race - the race against yourself."
At 1100GMT the new trimaran, berthed outside the National Maritime Museum in Darling Harbour, was officially named by Fergus MacArthur, Ellen's youngest brother. "I am dedicating the launch of the new boat to my family who have given me such incredible support and stood by me in everything I have done since first sailing solo around Britain," said MacArthur. "It means a great deal to me to have my brother here to officially name the boat and on a personal level to acknowledge the huge support my family have given me without question." The entire B&Q shore and build team shared the celebrations with many friends and family and were joined by the Minister of Tourism & Sport, The Hon Sandra Nori.
Over 30,000 man hours went into the construction of the Nigel Irens designed trimaran at the Boatspeed facility north of Sydney over a seven month period that began in May 2003. The 3-hulled structure is made of carbon - the strongest material known to mankind - to withstand the extreme conditions and loads she will race under across the world's oceans.
Images of the trimaran launch were beamed on to a giant screen at the heart of the Schroders London Boat Show on its opening day. MacArthur shared the honours of officially opening the 50th show via satellite link sponsored by BT Yahoo Broadband.
B&Q technical specification:
|Main hull surface area:||143.9 sq m|
|Main hull internals surface area:||37.29 sq m|
|Crossbeams surface area:||51.34 sq m|
|Floats surface area:||151.48 sq m|
|Floats internal surface area:||35.78 sq m|
|Total surface area:||419.79 sq m|
Designed by Nigel Irens and Benoit Cabaret
Built by Boatspeed, Australia
Spars by Southern Spars
Sails by North Sails France
Project managed by Neil Graham and Oli Allard from the Offshore Challenges Sailing Team
Supported by the Offshore Challenges Sailing Team Performance Partners
For more information visit : www.teamellen.com