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Friday, 15 June, 2001, 15:21 GMT 16:21 UK
Ellen sets sail on new challenge
Ellen MacArthur tells BBC Sport Online's Frank Keogh of her hopes for the Quiberon Trophy, which starts on Friday.
British sailing star Ellen MacArthur is relishing the chance to do battle again with some old rivals.
From 15 June, the top four skippers from the Vendée Globe round-the-world race are pitting their skills against each other.
Ellen MacArthur, Roland Jourdain and Mike Golding - who finished second, third and fourth in the 25,000-mile voyage - now have their chance for revenge over winner Michel Desjoyeaux.
In sharp contrast to the Vendée, which evolved over several months, this time the skippers will take part in short "coastal races" off the rocks of Brittany's west coast for the Quiberon Trophy.
Ellen's profile and schedule has increased beyond recognition since her mighty achievement of earlier this year.
Online betting firm Blue Square even make the 24-year-old the current 2/1 favourite to win the BBC Sports Personality of the Year in six months' time.
And that's ahead of British sports stars like Denise Lewis, David Coulthard, Tim Henman, David Beckham, Nasser Hussain and Lennox Lewis.
"I'm very touched. I think most things have surprised me. Things have been pretty busy in the last few months," she said.
The current event is expected to produce a few thrills and spills.
"The conditions are likely to be a little bit grey and miserable, but it should be quite windy, which makes for exciting sailing," said Ellen.
"All boats have the same conditions. Generally, having a lot of breeze means the sailing's a bit faster.
"On a short course like this, we are at far more close quarters, and at some of the turning points everyone's flying in and trying to get round.
"It's great to see some of the same boats come out again. and there are a few new faces this time. I'm sure there are some scores to settle, we'll just have to see how it goes."
Ellen is joined on her beloved yacht by co-skipper Nick Moloney, right-hand man Mark Turner as well as crew members Anthony Merrington and Philippe Cairo.
Kingfisher has been stripped of much of the equipment needed for the long haul of the Vendée, and will be using much lighter sails.
"She's going to perform differently with some new bits on board," admitted Ellen.
But she is more than happy to rely on the boat which has served her so well.
"You can never stop things going wrong, but you must always have faith in your boat."
Meanwhile, work is progressing on a book of her life.
Due out at the end of the year, it will focus on childhood and early hopes in addition to the Vendée Globe adventure.
"It would be great if the book could inspire some people," said Ellen.
"I was inspired as a kid, so I know how it feels to read something and say 'wow' and think that it inspires you to do something.
"Hopefully, the book will tell the story that if you have a dream - it's possible."
The book is due out at the end of the year.
Other Quiberon Trophy contenders
Loic Pochet: Well known in France because of his battle against cancer. Races to raise funds and awareness for a cancer charity.
His number two is Patrick Tabarly, son of the sailing legend Eric.
Michel Desjoyeaux: The man nicknamed "The Professor" is highly skilled at short-distance inshore racing. Won the Vendée Globe this year.
Roland Jourdain: Finished nearly three days behind Desjoyeaux in the Vendée but attracted a bigger crowd as his arrival came during daylight hours.
Bernard Stamm: A native of Geneva, was forced out of the Vendée Globe with boat damage.
Thierry Dubois: Completed the Vendee route in hazardous conditions despite being disqualified after emergency stop on land to fix his generator.
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