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Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 February, 2005, 07:35 GMT
MacArthur wins widespread praise
Ellen MacArthur
Tributes have been pouring in for Ellen MacArthur after she broke the solo non-stop round-the-world record.

MacArthur bettered the mark set by Francis Joyon a year ago and the Frenchman was among the first to offer his congratulations.

"I always said that Ellen was a serious customer and she has justified that in the fastest possible time," he said.

"I thought my record could be broken but I never imagined that Ellen would beat it so quickly and so effectively."

Sailing legend Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, who in 1969 became the first person to sail single-handedly around the world non-stop, believes MacArthur achieved what most sailors thought was an impossible task.

"Ellen has done superbly, it is an outstanding effort," said the 65-year-old.

"When Francis Joyon beat the record last year he took three weeks off the old time and that was mammoth.

"Then I thought that record would stand for years and now Ellen has come in and broken it."

Shortly after crossing the finish line at 2229 GMT on Monday, MacArthur was sent a message of congratulations by the Queen.

"I'm delighted to learn that you have completed your round-the-world journey in record time," it said.

"Since you set sail last November, your progress has been followed by many people in Britain and throughout the world who have been impressed by your courage, skill and stamina.

"I send you my warmest congratulations on your remarkable and historic achievement."

The Prince of Wales sent "heartfelt congratulations" and added: "The whole of the United Kingdom is, I know, delighted by your success."

Prime Minister Tony Blair said in a statement: "This is a stunning achievement. The whole country is very proud of Ellen."

Sir Chay Blyth, who sailed around the world non-stop against the prevailing wind in 292 days in 1970 and 1971, said: "What Ellen has done is truly remarkable.

"She is such a tiny girl sailing a huge boat packed with technology, and beating the record is terrific."

Minister for Sport Richard Caborn described MacArthur's record as "extraordinary".

"I am thrilled that Ellen's managed to break this world record.

"It's an amazing accomplishment and one that, added to Mike Golding's third place in the Vendee Globe last week, means there's never been such a huge interest in sailing."

Ellen MacArthur's first interview

Interview: Olympic gold medallist Shirley Robertson

Interview: MacArthur's personal trainer Matt Scott

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