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30 days to the Vendee Globe start!!!

by Elle Media on 7 Oct 2000
Nearly 24 years of dreaming, 3 years of specific preparation, tens of thousands of hours
of work, and the start is nearly upon us. 'Kingfisher' is already in Les Sables d'Olonne,
and the shore team are busy working very hard on the final details, polishing the hull,
checking and rechecking technical details, and dealing with the hordes of people already
on the pontoons in Port d'Olonna.
Ellen has just returned from a three day holiday (this rates as a long one in past 4
years!) and guess what she was doing? What do you think a professional sailor would
do, faced with the next 4 months of her life at sea...... she went sailing...on the Norfolk
Broads, revisiting her Swallows and Amazons past. Check out the full article and photos

Yesterday, following the Vendee Globe press conference, Ellen had an emotional
afternoon at a hospital in Villejuif, Paris, where she visited a ward for critically ill kids.
The hospital is one of 10 in France that are benefiting from a project organised by
Castorama, part of the Kingfisher Group of companies. Each hospital has had the
chance to construct a model of 'Kingfisher', and yesterday's visit by Ellen brought smiles
all round to these kids, some who have very uncertain futures.

Speaking last night, Ellen was still feeling extremely emotional about the experience. "I
still feel stunned. These kids, some who will tragically not make it, still managed to
smile and show incredible bravery. They'd spent weeks preparing pictures, books and
the model for my visit, just amazing. On the one hand I was very shocked and humbled
by it all, on the other, I am very honoured to be in a position that I could bring a small ray
of happiness to their lives. I told them that when I look in to those cameras at the start of
the Vendee, I'll be looking and waving at them. I really will be. In terms of the media
demands, it has brought a new sense of purpose for me."

The programme for the next couple of weeks consists of some final sailing checks, a lot
of media work, and some final weather work with Pierre Lasnier - plus the official checks
on 'Kingfisher' and an obligatory survival at sea course...
Kingfisher Challenges

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