Ahoy there

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 26 April, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 26 April, 2006, 12:00am

Britain's star yachtswoman Dame Ellen MacArthur gets her first look at Victoria Harbour as she sails into Causeway Bay aboard the 75-foot trimaran B&Q yesterday.

MacArthur, who has spent a lonely and often arduous couple of years chasing solo titles, said she was relieved at being able to sail in the company of others aboard B&Q on the Asian Record Circuit 2006.

'It's a big change sailing with a crew,' MacArthur said. 'I guess the best part is you get to share the sailing, although you also share the good moments and the smiles with the rest of the crew, which you don't on your own. It helps to carry you through the good and the bad.'

The 29-year-old is on a week-long stopover in Hong Kong midway through her Asian tour from Yokohama to Singapore, during which she hopes to set new 'crewed' benchmarks in the region for sailors to challenge.

Team Ellen were confident they would be able to break another record this week - sailing around Hong Kong Island in a multi-hulled vessel. 'The weather forecast was for medium winds, but when we were out this morning they were actually quite strong,' MacArthur said. 'The conditions seem good, so we'll see what happens.'

However, she was taken aback when told the record for the next leg of her journey - to Sanya, Hainan Island - set by the a team from the Hong Kong Yacht Club. The time of 29 hours is substantially shorter than Team Ellen's projected time of 45 hours.

When asked if the record was too fast, she replied: 'That all depends on the weather.'

MacArthur will attend several fundraising event during her stay in aid of Camp Quality Hong Kong, to benefit children undergoing treatment for cancer.