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Monday, 19 June, 2000, 19:39 GMT 20:39 UK
British yachtswoman's transatlantic win
Ellen MacArthur on her way into Rhode Island
Ellen MacArthur on her way into Rhode Island
British yachtswoman Ellen MacArthur has sailed to victory in the Europe1 New Man single-handed transatlantic race.

After a difficult final 36 hours in light and variable winds, the 23-year-old slid in to Newport, Rhode Island on Monday morning to become the youngest winner of the race since its inception in 1960.

Racing the boat Kingfisher for the first time since her launch in Auckland in February earlier this year, Ellen surpassed all expectations with the victory.

While the conditions in the race certainly favoured the design of the boat the win showed the young woman is capable of holding her own with the very best in the sport.


Sir Francis Chichester, winner of the first race, has also been a great hero for me, so it is incredible to have won this race

Ellen MacArthur
Her victory will give her a great boost for The Vendee Globe - the single-handed non-stop around the world race which starts in November 2000.

After stepping on to dry land, Ellen said: "My objective was top ten. I couldn't believe it when I found myself at the front.

"Certainly there were a few boats not pushing themselves as hard as they could, saving their boats for the Vendee.

"Some of the guys I respect most went out at an early stage as well.

"However, I found it incredibly stressful to be leading, and very challenging to make the right tactical choices on my own.

"I'm sure I could not have held the lead it we had been racing downwind more like in the Vendee, but overall I'm naturally very happy with Kingfisher.

'Exceptional performance'

"It's a very strong bond between us now after 15,000 miles together. I really do also want to thank all the supporters, friends, suppliers, sponsors and the Kingfisher Challenges shore team - I really haven't done this alone.

"Sir Francis Chichester, winner of the first race, has also been a great hero for me, so it is incredible to have won this race."

Sir Geoff Mulcahy, Kingfisher's chief executive, was delighted with the result, and paid tribute to Ellen and the Kingfisher Challenges Team.

"Ellen's exceptional performance in this tough and challenging race is a testimony to her skills, courage and commitment, and her determination to succeed.

"She is an inspiration to the 125,000 people working across our operating companies, and Kingfisher is truly proud to be associated with her."

Kingfisher was designed by a European team including Merfyn Owen, Rob Humphreys, Giovanni Belgrano and Alain Gautier and built in New Zealand.


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