Inspired by a sailing trip with her aunt on the East Coast when she was four, Ellen MacArthur saved her school-dinner money for eight years to buy her first boat, an 8-foot dinghy called Thr'penny Bit. A bout of glandular fever in her final year at school ended her plans to become a vet. But, transfixed by scenes from the Whitbread Race being shown on television while she convalesced, she resolved to become a sailor instead. Aged eighteen, she won the BT/YJA Young Sailor of the Year award. She sailed round the coast of Britain in her 21-foot boat, Iduna, the following year. In 1997 she raced single-handed across the Atlantic and was named BT/YJA Yachtsman of the Year 1998. In finishing the VendÃ©e Globe round-the-world race in just ninety-four days she became the fastest Briton ever to sail around the world alone. She was named Sunday Times Person of the Year 2001 and runner-up in the BBC Sports Personality of the Year. Ellen MacArthur lives in Cowes on the Isle of Wight.
In October 2009 Ellen MacArthur, one of the greatest sportswomen in the world, announced her retirement from competitive sailing. Many were in disbelief. How could the woman who had fought so hard to set so many records give up racing? But Ellen had found an even tougher challenge than sailing solo round the globe. Now Ellen is ready to write about her incredible last ten years, including the trip which changed her life. She speaks honestly about the trials of fame after coming second in the Vendee Globe in 2001; about her frustrations in missing the record for the West-East transatlantic crossing by just 75 minutes in 2004; the dramatic capsize and dismasting she experienced prior to her record attempt, and then the ultimate triumph of her spectacular, record-breaking, non-stop solo circumnavigation of the globe in 2004-5, sharing every painful and exciting moment of her 71 days alone at sea. And of course she tells of the fateful trip to South Georgia in 2005 which caused her to decide to leave competitive sailing behind for ever and focus all her ambition and energy towards a new and much bigger race . . . Ellen's searingly honest story is a story of triumph over incredible adversity and will inspire others to follow in this remarkable woman's wake.
Just after 10.00 on the night of February 7th 2004, Ellen MacArthur crossed an imaginary line in the sea off Brittany to become the fastest person ever to sail solo round the world. The record was held by a frenchman, Francis Joyon. He'd slashed over 20 days off the previous record and many thought his extraordinary new benchmark would stand for 10 years or more. Most experts thought that the record would be beyond MacArthur. But in a superhuman effort that forced her to dig deeper than ever before, she proved the doubters wrong. Her effort captured the world's imagination and the scenes that greeted her return to Falmouth were euphoric. She had become, some claimed, the finest sailor her country had every produced. Drawing on logs, emails, sound and video diaries, this beautifully designed, fully illustrated book captures the drama, excitement, danger, joy and tears of a truly extraordinary achievement - in Ellen's own words.
When Ellen finished the Vendee Globe, yachting's toughest race aged just 24 the nation took her to it's heart. The depth of the affection for Ellen is extraordinary - she makes people feel like they can do anything! This is her story, written intrue Ellen style, in her own words, without the help of a ghost writer. Passionate, dramatic and and deeply affecting, her story will move and inspire all who read it.