AROUND THE WORLD IN 71 DAYS, AND ELLEN RETURNS A HEROINE; MacArthur Sails into Record Book after Epic Voyage
Byline: ALAN FRASER
BRITAIN awoke this morning with a new sporting heroine to embrace.
Ellen MacArthur, from the hamlet of Whatstandwell in landlocked Derbyshire, completed her record-breaking solo journey round the world near the island of Ushant, off the coast of Brittany, at 10.29pm after more than 71 days and 27,350 miles. Her 75ft trimaran, B&Q, which she refers to affectionately as Moby, came home in 71 days, 14 hours, 18 minutes and 33 seconds hours.
That smashed by more 32 hours the record set 12 months ago by Frenchman Francis Joyon, a record MacArthur herself said 'deserved to last for a long time'. It was the record that few imagined could be beaten.
MacArthur had given herself only a 20 per cent chance of success. But the 28-year-old defied technical difficulties, horrendous weather, mountainous seas and chronic sleep deprivation to sit at the side of Neptune himself.
MacArthur said: 'I can't believe it, I can't believe it.
'When I crossed the line I felt like collapsing on the cockpit floor and falling asleep. It's over, it's just over and you don't have to worry any more.My feelings were of elation and huge relief.
'I'm elated but I'm absolutely drained. I have a mixture of emotions. I can see and touch people.
I have not looked anyone in the face for two months.
Just to see that is very special. I want to relax in the comfort of others because that's something I have missed.' The Queen sent a message of congratulation, saying: 'I'm delighted to learn that you have completed your round-the-world journey in record time.
'Your progress has been followed by many people in Britain and throughout the world who have been impressed by your courage, skill and stamina. I send you my warmest congratulations. …