There is a very special competitor in the Rhoute de Rhum this year. Ellen (MacArthur) is 22 and has almost 40,000 miles of offshore sailing under her belt of shorthanded competitive sailing. She will have sailed three transatlantics by the end of this year on Open 50′s. She is now sailing Pete Goss’s former boat Aqua Quorum. Three years ago she started her sailing career sailing singlehanded Round Britain in a 22 foot Corbee at the age of 19. She saved up for the boat from the age of 8 by saving her lunch money and did it up herself. For this she won the Young Sailor of the Year award in the UK, Last year at the age of 20 she did the Mini Transat singlehanded from France to Martinique via the Canaries and came 13th in the race. Her ultimate aim is to do the Vendee Globe in 2000. All this was done on a shoestring budget (mostly from money earned painting watercolors – all the BT Challenge boats were painted by her) as she only received minimal sponsorship and was living in a port-a-kabin in a boat yard.
Ellen has taught me never to give up and we go by the following saying: All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.