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  Wednesday, 21 February, 2001, 15:15 GMT
London welcomes MacArthur
Ellen MacArthur arrives in London
Ellen celebrates while on the River Thames
London paid its own tribute to record-breaking British yachtswomen Ellen MacArthur when she sailed triumphantly under Tower Bridge on Wednesday morning.

The 24-year-old, who finished second in the Vendee Globe race, returned to Britain last Thursday and received a massive reception when she sailed up the Solent and into Southampton.

But well-wishers in London got their chance to salute MacArthur as she arrived in the capital along the River Thames.

She stood aboard her vessel Kingfisher and waved to the crowd as she glided beneath the famous bridge's raised arms.

Ellen MacArthur aboard Kingfisher
Ellen acknowledges the crowd in London

She then raised her hand in a clenched fist triumphantly during a lap of honour on her way to St Katharine's Dock.

MacArthur became the fastest woman and youngest person ever to circumnavigate the earth in a single-handed race when she came home second behind France's Michel Desjoyeaux.

On the day of her London celebrations came the announcement that MacArthur is to continue her sponsorship with Kingfisher plc for at least another year.

"Kingfisher believed in Ellen when no other organisation was interested in a major sponsorship," said MacArthur's manager, Mark Turner.

"Without the group's support none of this would have been possible."

Her courage, skill and determination during 94 days at sea captured the hearts of people around the world.

And in France itself, her feats attacted even more acclaim than Desjoyeaux's win, with tens of thousands of well-wishers gathering in the port of Les Sables d'Olonne to welcome her across the line.

Ellen MacArthur in the Vendee Globe race

Home-coming heroine

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