story is not just about sailing, rather one of human
endeavour - and here it is, from land-locked Derbyshire
girl to 'Yachtsman of the Year' in a flash ...
Ellen's inspiration was sparked off by sailing trips, at
the age of 8, in the holidays with her aunt. Her first
boat was an 8ft dinghy which was the result of saving up
her school dinner money for 3 years.
At 18 Ellen sailed alone around Britain and subsequently
won 'BT/YJA Young Sailor of the Year'.
In order to raise sponsorship to compete in a
transatlantic race, she lived in a portakabin for 3
years, took a one-way ticket to France, bought and
refitted a tiny 21ft Classe Mini Yacht while camping
under it in a boatyard, then raced 4,000m single-handed
across the Atlantic over 33 days in the 1997 'Mini
She then went on to complete in the famous Route De Rhum
transatlantic race and despite the failure of her keel
hydraulics, Ellen won her class on an Open 50. In 1998
she was named BT/YJA Yachtsman of the Year in the UK and
'Sailings Young Hope' in France.
Ellen, at 24 years old and just 5'2" was one of two
women and, with Mike Golding, two British challengers in
the 20+ strong international fleet that completed in the
Vendee Globe 2000 race, the toughest challenge that the
world's oceans have to offer: 100 days alone at sea from
the 5th November 2000, racing around the world.
A 'Jack of all Trades', Ellen is an expert skipper,
electrician, sail-maker, engineer, journalist,
cameraman, doctor.. unfortunately thought, not yet a
great cook! Saving weight is critical, eating
freeze-dried foodstuffs can significantly save weight on
the boat - all Ellen has to worry about is not burning
the water! Through her work with leading chronobiologist
Claudio Stampi, has trained to sleep for as little as 20
minutes at a time to avoid fatigue, which can be
Ellen was awarded the MBE in the 2001 Queen's Birthday
for rising star MacArthur
MacArthur's MBE is the latest landmark in a phenomenal
year that has seen her emerge as one of Britain's
brightest young sporting stars.
content with re-writing the record books by becoming
the fastest woman to complete the round the world
yacht race, the 24-year-old also becomes one of the
youngest people ever to be awarded an MBE.
who is currently sailing in the Quiberon Trophy race,
told BBC Sport Online she was thrilled with the honour,
but was keen not to take too much personal credit.
a great honour for me to receive this award and I'm
delighted that the sport of sailing has been
recognised," said Ellen from her Kingfisher yacht
off the west coast of Brittany.
I am accepting it on behalf of my family, shore team,
sponsor and the general public everywhere for their
unwavering support and encouragement - I could not
have done it without them."
most people her age, spending 94 solitary days at sea,
experiencing some of the most gruelling conditions on
earth is beyond the pale.
for MacArthur. Just three months after finishing
second in the 24,000-mile Vendee Globe single-handed
around the world race last February, she was off again
- in the 3,000-mile Challenge Mondial race.
time, she was navigator on the Foncia boat, skippered
by Frenchman Alain Gautier.
they clinched a thrilling victory in the Spanish port
of Tarragona over French rivals Belgacom.
will now concentrate all her efforts on the Quiberon
Trophy, which starts on Friday.
has the opportunity to seek revenge on Michel
Desjoyeaux - the man who pipped her to second place in
the Vendee Globe race.
MacArthur keeps going the way she has this year, more
awards cannot be far away.
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