Kingfisher flex their muscles

Training and preparations continue for Ellen MacArthur's attempt on the Jules Verne Trophy

Monday January 6th 2003, Author: James Boyd, Location: France
Hard at work at sea, Ellen and the 13 crew on Kingfisher2 have been putting the 110ft catamaran through her paces over the past three days. The conditions have given them a bit of everything - and rather than heading out west to a big storm (that has 80 knots of wind in - worth avoiding), the team has been sailing inside a box that extends from Lorient to Ushant, to Ile d'Yeu and out to the west a few hundred miles. 'Bouncing' around the box has kept the guys active...we've also had to try to avoid the oil slicks from the Prestige, a maritime disaster that continues to effect our programme.

"With storms filing across the Atlantic, finding the right balance between not breaking the boat, but testing her properly before we set off around the world, is quite hard!" comments skipper Ellen MacArthur. "On this trip though we've been making great progress, done loads of manoeuvres, sorted out a lot of stuff...there are so many systems on a raceboat like this to prove, optimise, and make reliable for a 60 day adventure around the globe...."

Flying a hull for the first time out of Lorient, signalled also that the crew are starting to get some confidence in the giant yacht...and as the jobs list gets ticked off, Kingfisher2 gets closer to being ready for her attempt on the toughest record of them all - around the globe non-stop.

But its not just the boat that needs looking after - last week half the crew had flu, best to get it over with now perhaps! Also in Lorient just before departure was our Nutritionist Juliet Wilson. All the guys have been to the dentist (a rather large problem if you you have tooth problem half way round). Dr Mark Tomson is also carrying out medical checks on each of the crew - in the past skippers have sometimes even determined that all crew have to have their appendix out before departure!

Nothing can be left to chance. All these details have to be thought of before such a long non-stop trip.

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