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Last Updated: Monday, 26 November 2007, 09:53 GMT
MacArthur says her record will go
Dame Ellen MacArthur
MacArthur celebrates breaking the world record on board B&Q in 2005
Dame Ellen MacArthur believes her solo round-the-world record will be broken by one of two Frenchmen this winter.

Francis Joyon, 51, set sail from Brest last Friday in an attempt to regain the record taken from him by MacArthur in February 2005.

Both Joyon and his compatriot Thomas Colville, who is yet to leave, are sailing longer boats than MacArthur's B&Q, which should ensure greater speed.

"I expect one of them to break it," said the 31-year-old Briton.

"I don't know how I will feel about that. I just can't say until it happens."


MacArthur set the record of 71 days 14 hours.

Joyon, the 24-hour solo speed world record holder, should beat it in his 97ft trimaran IDEC II, which is 20 feet longer than the boat MacArthur used.

Colville, who had briefly to postpone his departure on Friday from Les Sables D'Ollones, has a 15ft advantage on MacArthur's B&Q in his boat, Sodebo.

The symbolic mark for the record is 70 days.

"They are bigger boats and both well prepared," said MacArthur, before dismissing speculation that retirement or a career in business beckons for her.

"It does make me remember how hard it was but that doesn't make me not want to do it.

"In the end I'm a sailor and still a very competitive person.

Mark Turner, MacArthur's long-time friend and business partner, hinted she would eager to reclaim the record should it be broken.

An attempt could take place after 2010, when her company's new multi-million pound sponsorship deal with BT expires.

People are suggesting I'm a business woman, but I'm really not, I'm a sailor first. Mentally, I've never been away
Dame Ellen MacArthur

"It's the hardest thing we've done," Turner said of the solo record, "so it is not something we would rush to do again.

"But the thing that has always driven is sailing challenges and it's our most cherished achievement.

"It's very interesting hearing Ellen answer when asked if she would do it again. Our record will go.

"There are lots of things that can go wrong on these attempts, but both boats were designed by the same team that designed our boats and are two evolutions on."

MacArthur, speaking in Barcelona before the start of the Barcelona World Race, added: "All the options are open.

"I'm 31, it's not as if I'm 40 and thinking, 'Oh crikey, if I don't do the next Vendee, that's it for me'.

"People are suggesting I'm a business woman, but I'm really not, I'm a sailor first. Mentally, I've never been away."


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