It had to come. The whole sailing world cheers for her new, only 28-year-old heroine, and a large number of non-sailors also admire Ellen MacArthur. Only Ken Appelby, a former captain of the English merchant navy, cannot contain himself and digs up the age-old argument that single-handed sailing does not comply with international rules:
On "B&Q" the permanent lookout, as required by the rules, was not guaranteed.
The argument itself cannot be shaken - unfortunately. An excursion into the jungle of internationally valid regulations proves this. The collision avoidance rules (KVR) stipulate that "one must look out on every vehicle at all times". There is no doubt: yachts that are only sailed by one person do not meet the requirement, they cannot meet it. D the single-handed sailors do their sport where merchant ships usually do not operate and d - also in accordance with the collision avoidance rules - motor vehicles have to avoid motor vehicles on the high seas, this rule is ignored. They are replaced by a certain laissez-faire principle, because the public impact of one-handed sporting projects is currently far too great for everyone to see. Rule 5 of the collision avoidance rules has also not been made for trimarans and steamers that meet on the high seas.
The journalist Christian Février from France made it clear by e-mail that this rule was created in the 1970s because collisions in broad daylight were increasing - between cargo ships.
This rule also had consequences in Germany. Until the eighties, single-handed sailing was simply considered unseaman. Both the German Sailing Association (DSV) and clubs, associations and bodies related to them represented this opinion. The rule was a political issue - and in part it still is today, as the remark of the former merchant ship captain shows.
Not least because of this eternal argument, the German Wilfried Erdmann did not receive the Schlimbach Prize in 1983, the highest award for sailing achievements in this country. He had sailed around the world non-stop with his "Kathennui". Something that very few sailors had ever achieved before him (there was still no Vendée Globe Challenge). But because he had been one-handed, the judges refused him the award. Most of the German sailing community grumbled a lot at the time. So the trouble has history. Well-informed sailors and journalists like the French Christian Février piss off such arguments - even if they are irrefutable.
Unfortunately, there is also a fact that Février, who sees himself as a custodian of modern records, publishes in the email distribution list Scuttlebutt: The "Atlantic record", which both Ellen MacArtur and Francis Joyon want to break with their huge trimarans, exists as it is no more. Reason: When the Frenchman Laurent Bourgnon sailed the 60-foot tri "Primagaz" in a little more than seven days from New York to England in 1994, there was only one category: the boat had to be sailed one-handed. However, the World Sailing Speed Record Council (WSSRC) now makes a distinction based on length. If the boat measures less than 60 feet, the one category in which Bourgnons set his record ends. The new one begins above this. MacArthur and Joyon's boats clearly both fall into the new category. In order to beat Bourgnon in the same class, the aces would have to rent Orma-60 trimarans.
On the internationally renowned "Sailing Anarchy" page you can find the congratulatory email from a reader who also complains that his "B&Q" fitted kitchen has been overdue for weeks. Both "B&Q" and "Castorama" (that is the name of the tri in all French-language reports, the port sides of the hulls are designed in Castorama blue) are building and furnishing stores managed by the Kingfisher holding company.