MacArthur reaches midway point

LONDON -- British yachtswoman Ellen MacArthur remains on a pace to set a solo round-the-world record, despite sailing through a powerful storm.

MacArthur reached the halfway stage near Cape Leeuwin, off Australia's southwest coast, on Tuesday.

It took her 29 days and 14 hours after leaving Ushant, France, to reach the landmark, beating Francis Joyon's record by 17 hours, 24 minutes.

MacArthur has three solo records on the trip. She also set new times to the Equator and the Cape of Good Hope.

As of Wednesday, MacArthur was one day, 20 hours and 27 minutes ahead of the pace of Joyon, who set the record of 72 days, 22 hours, 54 minutes and 22 seconds this year.

The 28-knot winds had made it difficult to stand on the deck of the 75-foot boat to alter sails, and played havoc with the
generator, MacArthur wrote on her Web site.

MacArthur, who left Ushant on Nov. 28, has sailed nearly 13,000 nautical miles of the 25,000-nautical mile voyage. She must return to Ushant by Feb. 9 to beat the record.