Brit 30-plus hours ahead of round-the-world record

LONDON -- British sailor Ellen MacArthur is back on record
pace but heading into unpredictable weather around the equator in
her bid to set a solo round-the-world mark.

By Thursday, MacArthur had overcome a day's deficit to move one day, nine hours ahead of the pace set by Francis Joyon when he
established the record of 72 days, 22 hours, 54 minutes and 22
seconds in February 2004.

MacArthur needs to reach Ushant, France, on her 75-foot trimaran B&Q before 2:04 a.m. ET on Feb. 9 to break the record. She set off from Ushant on Nov. 28 and has 3,400 miles to go.

According to her Web site, MacArthur will reach the equator
early Friday morning but will be on alert passing through the
doldrums, characterized by calm, light winds and squalls.

"We're coming into the final straight line and I just feel a
huge amount of pressure and I need to try and de-stress and calm
down a little but it is exceptionally difficult to do that when
you've got the doldrums in front of you," MacArthur wrote in an
e-mail on her Web site.