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Wessex Resins 2019 - Pro-Set - 728x90


by Philippe Jeantot on 12 Feb 2001
Ellen MacArthur (Kingfisher) crossed the finish line of the Vendée Globe in second position at 2036 hrs and 40 seconds.

The 24 yr old British skipper has just become the first woman to achieve a solo circumnavigation in less than 100 days. She has spent 94 days, 4 hours, 25 minutes and 40 seconds at sea.

Ellen¹s responses from the first press conference after crossing the finish line:

'I¹ve just had a chat with Tony Blair, well he wanted to talk to me! It¹s incredible that I¹ve been followed by someone like him. He really knew about the race, he knew what had happened
to Yves and about the icebergs. I think he was quite surprised at the number of people here. We must have chatted for 10 ­ 15 minutes. It was a long chat and he was genuinely
enthusiastic. He finished by saying Œyou¹ll have to come and see me soon¹ so I said Œyep, see you later!¹ at the end.

'It was the most amazing experience in my life seeing so many people here to see me. I thought that there must be someone standing behind me. Then I thought that they must all be here
for the boat as she sailed round the world, I¹m just the pilot.

'I don¹t know what to think, I¹m still blown away by the whole situation. A question that everyone¹s asked during the race is: 'What would you like or what do you miss the most? I
don¹t miss having anything except my friends, family and team, but they all understand why I am out here.

'Unfortunately I was way behind Mich coming out of the Saint Helene high pressure system but was keen to keep my position in the West. Coming to the Equator I spent a lot of time
mending my gennaker, I spent 18 hours with it laid out on deck, I was fairly careful with the sail as I wanted a big sail in the Doldrums. The wind instruments broke on two consecutive
nights so I had to change the anemometer at the top of the mast twice. Sailing with a fragile gennaker now, I was pretty tired. The first anemometer I fixed was faulty so I had to go up the
rig a second time. That was the moment I was most scared. I was at the top of the rig, there was this big squall, lots of rain but I didn¹t mind that. The wind died off and the boat gybed 7
times while I was up the mast. With a boat that has a canted keel, if the main had been on the wrong side and the wind had come back the boat would have fallen over on top of me. So I
was completely exhausted and sailed further to the East. I needed to sleep. I ended up due South of Mich, well that¹s life.

'If the race was going to start tomorrow you can bet your bottom dollar that I¹d be on that start line again! It was the hardest race ever but it¹s very difficult to get off the boat.

'I¹ve got nothing in my mind that says 'Ellen, don¹t do the Vendée Globe again!' Could another circumnavigation ever be the same? But then when I sailed round Britain on Iduna I had
the same feeling coming into the locks at Hull marina as I did today ­ just a few more people here!

'I¹d like to believe that the reason why people followed my race, is that if you have a dream you can make it happen. Sitting here alone makes it look like I¹ve done this on my own but it¹s
not just me, it¹s the whole team. 95% of the result has been thanks to them, they¹ve helped me through the bad days, they¹ve prepared the best boat ever.

'I never imagined there¹d be as many people as are here tonight.

'My daily routine is normal to me, although it¹s a bit strange for everyone else. The first thing I did was to go to the toilet, it¹s the first time in 3 months that I¹ve been to a toilet that
flushes! My whole world has been 60ft long and about the same high, I¹ve been up the mast pretty often! I¹m seeing different colours and lights now, where for 3 months I¹ve seen
nothing but beautiful ocean and a beautiful boat. That intrigues and inspires people. You can get an image of it in your mind of what it¹s like, you don¹t have to be a sailor to understand
that. It¹s not about sailing, people are interested in the story, that you can make it happen. This is a sailing race and sailing is my life but in a way it¹s just to say that if you want to do
something you canŠI just chose to do it in a boat.

'I never had a change of mind, always kept the same view, you never know what¹s going to happen. You could set off the first day in first but a million things could change in the course
of a race like this. It so happened that I came second and I¹m thrilled to bits. My main aim was to finish and any one that crosses the line is a winner.

'I never thought I wouldn¹t be able to finish the race. In the face of adversity you find solutions, you put all your time and energy into finding the solution. There was a moment that I
feared for my life, that I wasn¹t sure I could get out of what I¹d got into. But I had no option but to sort the problem, and it¹s afterwards when you are quite shocked, when it hits you the

'This is the first time I¹ve really worked with a team to prepare this project. Without Mark Turner there¹s no way I¹d be here. I¹ve had to learn that. And there¹s a lot of progress to be
made from thatŠ

'It hasn¹t even sunk in yet. When I was out there, I always sailed to the maximum as much as I could, how the boat likes to be sailed. I¹m elated to be second, it says a lot for the team
and preparation, which is critical in a race like this. It¹s swings and round-a-bouts, as Mich could have got a bigger lead than 640 miles but he got stuck in the Saint Helen system. I¹m still
the juvenile of the race.

'Now I just want to change out of these damp clothes and spend time with friends and family. I¹ll be racing Kingfisher and other boats in the future I think. It¹s early days. It¹s a big
dream to get this race under my belt and I need to let it sink in. I¹m dying to get back on the water soonŠ'

For further information:

Go to the official race website: - click on the English flag
Positions are updated at 0830, 1230, 1730hrs GMT daily on the site.

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