'My Eyes Were Opened' - Ellen MacArthur

Ellen Macarthur
Media Services
After a life time of sailing, it took a non-competitive event to change the life of the fastest ever round world solo sailor. 'The recent South Georgia expedition and life with the albatrosses was in many ways a life-changing voyage and adventure for me.

Dame Ellen MacArthur, the youngest person in history to receive a Dame-hood, was in a philosophical mood when she announced that she was to give up solo sailing and concentrate on a team effort with the Offshore Challenges Sailing Team for the IMOCA Circuit in 2007-9.

'My eyes have been opened to many aspects of the world around us that in our everyday lives we have little time to notice, let alone take in.

'After nearly 10 years of full-on professional sailing I wanted to use the time down there to think about what I do next.'

MacArthur made her decision after spending Christmas and the New Year in the South Atlantic helping to raise awareness of the plight of the endangered albatross.

Well, Ellen, there are many racing sailors, not as well known as you, who have had similar life changing experiences when they go non-competitively to sea – and there are many cruising yachties who can identify EXACTLY with your changed perspective.

MacArthur is hardly retiring though. 'This company (The Offshore Challenges Group) is co-owned by myself and Mark Turner, who has managed the business since it began in 1995.

'Whilst I was at sea, Mark held the reins on shore and now it is time for me to put my energy and the experience I've gained into the ongoing success of the company and the development of the Offshore Challenges team.'

Footnote: The Isle of Wight-based yachtswoman made her mark when she came second in the 2001 Vendee Globe aged only 24.

Last year, she broke the single-handed round-the-world record when she completed the voyage in 71 days, 14 hours, 18 minutes and 33 seconds.

The time beat the mark of 72 days and almost 23 hours set by Francis Joyon.