The future is bright for Ellen
Kingfisher have purchased Bruno Peyron's 110ft maxi-catamaran and Jules Verne Trophy record holder Orange to make a fresh attempt on the Jules Verne Trophy. Offshore Challenge's Sailing Team run by Ellen MacArthur and Mark Turner also plan to enter The Race 2004 in this boat with a new sponsor.
Bruno Peyron plans to use the maxi-catamaran this summer to break records and will be in the UK during August. During this period Team Kingfisher members will be sailing on board, to enable good preparation and training prior to making their departure. The maxi-cat is to be renamed Kingfisher 2 for the attempt. and will be rebranded in the colours of B&Q and Castorama.
A team of 10 international sailors, handpicked by Ellen, will set off on a date dictated by the weather patterns, sometime between December 2002 and February 2003.
"We now have an excellent boat for our challenge on the Jules Verne record next winter," commented Ellen. "She's come back in great shape, and I look forward to enjoying some spectacular and challenging sailing on her at the end of the year."
On the subject of the Jules Verne Trophy record time of 64 days 8 hours 37 minutes and 24 seconds set on 5 May by Bruno Peyron and his Orange team, Ellen added: "There is no doubt Bruno has set a fast record, but there will probably be four campaigns out there next winter all with a good chance of breaking it by as much as another five days. We'll have time for some small improvements to the boat compared with the recent attempt, notably in the sail inventory, and we're all going to be pushing that bit harder as well. That said, just to complete the Jules Verne course is in itself a big thing - history shows that less than half the attempts have even made it around the globe. It's a tough challenge!"
Nick Moloney who is part of the Offshore Challenges Sailing Team and was the non-Frenchman on board Orange for her record tour will also be on board for the Jules Verne. "I'm ready to go again for sure. It's such an incredible adventure and it's such a great experience".
A year after the Jules Verne Offshore Challenges will also be campaigning the boat in The Race 2004. "We will be looking for a sponsor and secondly look for an international team and skipper," commented Offshore Challenges Mark Turner. Ellen at this time will be involved with her 60ft trimaran and at present is not lined up to sail on board for The Race.
Meanwhile Ellen and Moloney are preparing for singlehanded transatlantic race, the Route du Rhum in November. "Until November my personal focus is firmly on the monohull 'Kingfisher' and preparations for the solo Route du Rhum race in November - that is the big one for me in 2002," commented Ellen. "We have a great team to prepare the catamaran at the same time, and as soon as I have finished the Rhum I will be flying back to join the team"
In preparations for his attempt on the Vendee Globe 2004, Offshore Challenges have chartered the Groupe Finot-designed Open 50, which J-P Mouligne raced to a class 2 victory in the last Around Alone. Offshore Challenges are still looking to secure title sponsorship for Moloney's Route du Rhum and Vendee Globe campaigns.
Ellen will of course be sailing her Vendee Globe Open 60, Kingfisher in the Route du Rhum.
Meanwhile over in France selling Orange will go some way to enable Bruno Peyron to begin construction of his new G-class maxicatamaran for The Race 2004 in which he intends to compete. The catamaran is a Gilles Ollier & Associates design (like Orange) and believed to be around 125ft in length.