5, 4, 3...Kingfisher goes amber

Possible weather window for Jules Verne departure early next week

Thursday January 23rd 2003, Author: James Boyd, Location: Transoceanic
Ellen MacArthur has made the call for the crew of Kingfisher2 to return to Lorient as the team go from standby mode to AMBER in anticipation of a good weather window developing for next Monday or Tuesday for the departure of their attempt on the Jules Verne Trophy record attempt for sailing nonstop around the world.

"Right now, both weather models are showing a really good weather opportunity early next week," said MacArthur. "There is a 60-70% chance of departure so we have asked all the crew to return to Lorient by Sunday."

Ellen has been in Hamburg studying the weather options with weather router Dr Meeno Schrader - the decision to change from standby mode was taken to give the 14 crew spread across Europe (from Sweden to Spain) sufficient time to return to the base in France. But there is the possibility that the standby mode may go back to RED if the high pressure area needed to develop northerly winds disappears.

There is a sense of urgency for Kingfisher2 to depart on the non-stop round the world Jules Verne record attempt but in this game patience is a true virtue. While Kingfisher2 waits, Olivier de Kersauson on Geronimo is now in day 11 of their record attempt having set a new record to the Equator and escaping the Doldrums quickly to continue their passage south off the coast of Brazil.

Once Kingfisher2 is underway the 14 crew will fall into a 4-hour watch system of three watches - 4 hours on, 4 hours standby and 4 hours off with four crew in each system.

Ellen will be out of the watch system to give her the freedom to navigate round the clock, and Andrew Preece who is in charge of all the media communications. The watches have now been announced:

Watch leader - Guillermo Altadill plus crew Benoit Briand, Kevin McMeel, Damian Foxall
Watch leader - Neal McDonald plus crew Bruno Dubois, Anthony Merrington (aka Youngster), Jason Carrington
Watch leader - Hervé Jan plus crew Ronan Le Goff, Andrew Henderson (aka Hendo), Nigel King

The 14 crew are divided into separate hulls that become their living area - Guillermo, Benoit, Bruno, Jason, Ronan and Hendo in the port hull and Kevin, Damian, Neal, Youngster, Hervé and Nigel in starboard. Ellen will sleep in a bunk directly above the navigation station in the starboard hull.

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