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  Wednesday, 21 February, 2001, 20:22 GMT
Britain should be proud of Ellen
The British crowds were far smaller than those in France
The British crowds were far smaller than those in France
BBC Sport Online's Steve Cresswell saw Ellen MacArthur sail up the Thames but her British homecoming was more muted than the welcome the French gave her at the end of the Vendee Globe race.

It is said that the British love a winning underdog in the sporting world.

A team or individual prepared to battle against the odds and achieve success.

What Ellen MacArthur achieved in three months of sole existence aboard her beloved Kingfisher in some of the world's most treacherous waters has rightly earnt her a place in the hearts of the nation.

But sadly the British are overwhelmingly outshone by the French in the strength and warmth of feeling directed towards the 24-year-old from Derbyshire.

Down-to-earth girl

Sailing may not have the same following in Britain as in France, but here is a truly remarkable single-handed achievement by a girl that the general public should find it easy to associate with.

We are not talking about a money or publicity driven individual, the type that are so prevalent in many other sports.

But the London public failed to turn out in anything like the same numbers as their French counterparts when she reached the respective shores.

That is in no way meant to detract from those who lined the pavements around St Katharine's Pier when she docked on Wednesday.

Their appreciation of Ellen's effort was clearly evident.

Stan Morgan of Southall told BBC Sport Online: "What she did was amazing for any individual.

"I didn't have a great interest in sailing but I have followed Ellen's efforts in the press and that is why I came down to see her in."

But such sentiments are just not as common in Britain as they are in France.

Ellen MacArthur in the Vendee Globe race

Home-coming heroine

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See also:

15 Feb 01 | Vendee Globe
21 Feb 01 | Vendee Globe
21 Feb 01 | Vendee Globe
21 Feb 01 | Vendee Globe
12 Feb 01 | Vendee Globe
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