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banner Monday, 19 November, 2001, 21:05 GMT
MacArthur on top of the world
Ellen MacArthur on Foncia-Kingfisher
Ellen: Second in Transat but first in world championship
Fresh from the Transat Jacques Vabre and winning ocean sailing's world championship, Ellen MacArthur tells BBC Sport Online's Alex Trickett about her latest achievements.


Second place in the Transat Jacques Vabre, how do you feel about that?

Well, we're pleased to cross the finish line and Alain Gaultier and I both know that second place is a pretty good position to finish in.

But it was obviously pretty disappointing to lose the lead so late with a damaged bow and broken hydraulics.


I remember looking at my name appearing at the very bottom of the list when I did my first race - to see it move up to the top is incredible
Ellen MacArthur

It was sunset the evening before the finish and we were about three miles ahead of the next boat.

One second everything was fine and the next second there was the most enormous bang and the bow split and the sail went flying in the air.

From that moment on, we knew we had lost our chance of winning the race.


I gather there is some consolation for you personally. You have won the Fico World Championship - can you explain what that is?

It really is fantastic to win the Fico-Lacoste World Championship.

I remember, years ago, looking at my name appearing at the very bottom of the list when I did my first race and to see it move up the list to the top is incredible.


The amount of notes, letters and e-mails I have received has been incredible
Ellen MacArthur

I still feel like 'how on earth can it possibly be me'.

It is basically a championship that runs on ocean racing and can be crewed or single-handed.

If you take the examples of Formula One and World Rallying, ocean race is more like the latter and it includes events like the Vendee Globe, the Transat and the Volvo Ocean Race.

Whether you're crew, skipper or co-skipper, you get points for all of these races and the person with the most points at the end of the season wins the championship.


You're also a leading contender for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award. How does that make you feel?

I feel very privileged to have been nominated.


To be honest I have seen very little of sport outside the sailing scene, but I do know that Michael Owen scored a hat-trick
Ellen MacArthur

It's just incredible to even be there and no matter what the result I'm very honoured.

A few years ago, who would have thought it?

It's clear from the amount of support I have had from so many people that I have had an impact.

The amount of notes, letters and emails I have received has been incredible.


What are your own memories of the sporting year - sailing and general?

Most of my memories are of the sailing side of things because I've been at sea for most of this year, starting off with the Vendee Globe in February.

To be honest I have seen very little of sport outside the sailing scene.

But I do know that Michael Owen scored a hat-trick against Germany.


So who will you vote for as Sports Personality of the Year?

I'll have to have a good solid look at the contenders before I make my vote.

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Ellen MacArthur
'It really is fantastic to win the world championship'
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