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Friday, February 11, 2005

Ellen MacArthur

Can anyone not be amazed by Ellen MacArthur! She's just beaten the record for sailing solo round the world and only the second person ever to sail solo non-stop around the world on a multi-hull boat. She took on the world record holder (which four men before her tried and failed) and if you've ever seen the dimensions of a multi-hull and those masts and sails, it's just incredible to imagine the strength and will-power that went into the journey.

She breaks all stereotypes of big strong sailor men. She's short for a start. She kept a blog during the voyage and a video of herself talking (often emotionally) about her day. Sadly, in exposing herself and being publicly vulnerable she's come up for a lot of criticism in the British press. She was letting down that stiff upper lip I guess.

An interesting thing. The two sides of her boat were painted completely different colours. One side was "English" (with a British sponsor) and the other side was "French" (with a French sponsor). All the images of the voyage in English had one style, including the boat and the website (visually orange) while all the images shown in France had another (visually blue). The reporting on the website was different for the different British and French audiences. In other words it wasn't just one text translated into two languages.

Oh yes, there's a Portuguese lover in this story too. He's ex- now, since she set off on the voyage. She met him two years before when he rescued her and her boat that capsized off the Portuguese coast. He, Luis, apparently risked his life to cut the mast so the boat could be towed to safely. He's now selling the story ...


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