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Monday, 12 February, 2001, 11:34 GMT
How great is MacArthur's achievement?
British Yachtswoman Ellen MacArthur
Ellen MacArthur has single-handedly circumnavigated the globe coping with 20 minutes sleep a night, icebergs and 60 foot waves.

MacArthur crossed the line in second place but just how great an achievement was it?

HAVE YOUR SAY

Frenchman Michel Desjoyeaux took first place in the Vendee Globe single-handed around-the-world yacht race but it is MacArthur that the French have taken to their hearts.

MacArthur had been at sea since November battling nature's harshest conditions, as well as lack of sleep and the isolation of the single-handed sailor.

At 24, Ellen is the youngest ever competitor and now the fastest woman to single-handedly sail across the world.

What are your thoughts on Ellen's achievement?

Is this one of the most inspiring tests of human endurance?

Tell us what you think.

HAVE YOUR SAY


Very rarely does one come across truly moving stories of individual achievement, as opposed to tragedy. The pictures of Kingfisher's arrival in France last night, and the composure and humility of Ellen, MacArthur have been truly humbling. It was not surprising to see even the hardened news reporters moved by the occasion. Totally inspirational!
Edward Wilkinson, England

For those who do not truly understand what she accomplished, read the comments of the people who have sailed offshore & round the world on this page. They KNOW and understand.

Memo to Tony-England: Sailing the Southern Ocean solo is no picnic regardless of how many "gizmos" you have. I would love to see you try to do the same thing.
Kate, USA

How can anyone criticise Ellen's FANTASTIC feat? Ellen has shown true British style by turning back to assist a fellow racer who was in trouble...how many of you moaning would even stop to help someone that has broken down on the side of the road?
Adam Gale, England

An heroic achievement for Ellen. We've all taken her to our hearts. Fantastic courage and resilience, conquering her own fear and the elements. Congratulations to Kingfisher for backing such a winner, and commiserations to poor old Michel Desjoyeux and his sponsors! His effort was even greater but is almost totally eclipsed by Ellen and Kingfisher.
Jacques Francis, UK

I cannot begin to imagine what Ellen must have gone through over 24,000 miles of sometimes very hostile seas. It is an wonderful achievement.

Not being a sailor or particular lover of water I can only stand back in amazement and feel real pride that this young woman has done this on her own and that she's British. Well done Ellen, here's to the next time.
Diane Warrilow, United Kingdom

Perhaps Jasper should spend a couple of days on one of these boats before writing such drivel. Without doubt this girl should get a medal and more than likely sports personality of the year. She certainly has my vote. Good on you.
Philip Levy, UK

Very few people will REALLY appreciate what an amazing achievement this is and what she's really been through.


Britain should be very proud of her. Kingfisher should give her the boat!
Helen Dudley, England

But why is so much made of her age ? I think this is almost patronising to her - she's highly experienced, unbelievable brave and extremely talented so what of her being "only" 24 ? At what age would this amazing triumph cease to be so amazing?
Roger Holden, England

Takes a lot of guts, but for God's sake it doesn't even begin to compare with feats of sailors such as Chichester, Ridgeway, and all the thousands of sailors who did not have the huge amount of technology help that this pretty young woman had.

Maybe that's why there is so much fuss. She is young, nice looking, and a woman.
Tony, England

Heroic performance. Anyone who has actually sailed internationally will understand just how amazing this was. I do hope the British public give her full praise for her excellent result.
Simon Roberts, Hong Kong


This is one of the great moments of ocean racing history, created by Ellen's remarkable personal qualities and her colleagues' faith in those qualities. Certainly up there with the finest moments in sport generally.

Congratulations to Ellen and team, and to Sir Geoff Mulcahy for this achievement.
Guy Haworth, UK

Anyone who has sailed offshore will appreciate the scale of this achievement. Ellen deserves the highest honours we can give a sportsperson.

It takes enormous courage to face the dangers she has faced and to come through with a sense of humour is fantastic. I hope everyone will give her the space to come down gently and privately from this emotional rollercoaster. She has my total admiration.
Roger, UK

My family think she is magnificent. To take up such an awe inspiring challenge at such a young age is wonderful. Britain should be very proud of her. Kingfisher should give her the boat!
Helen Dudley, England

What a fantastic achievement, though what a pity we've probably heard more about the likes of Anna Kournikova during the last three months than we have about Ellen MacArthur.
Polly, UK

Well done, Ellen, I know nothing about sailing but having followed your progress throughout the race ,


it makes my trips in the Sydney to Hobart race look like a fun day out on the water.
Neil Williams, Australia
I am left absolutely awe-struck by your courage and tenacity which will always shine as an example to all of us who are chasing our dreams. Peter
Peter, UK

Marvellous, she`s a credit to the nation, a real one off, a genuine acheiver.
Matt, England

This girl is an example to us all and I don't see any other sporting achievement in the year ahead coming anywhere near this. She is sports personality of the year elect.
Derek Small, United Kingdom

Well Done Ellen. You're a winner and a hero. You are a great example to young people around the world, in any sport or walk of life. you've shown true grit, determination and single mindedness, both to play by the rules and handle whatever is thrown at you.
Bill Petrie, Singapore

An amazing achievement. All credit to Ellen, not just for all the records she has broken but for going out and realising her dream.
She showed great Spirit and determination to see it through. Well Done Ellen!
Jon, Canada

Yet again the British seem to have got carried away for a gallant runner-up. She finished second in a minority, elitist sport. A good effort indeed, but does it deserve to be a continuous headline story on National news? I don't think so. Let's have a sense of perspective.
Andy Walmsley, England

A fantastic achievement - really well done. I have been following the race all the way and found her efforts inspiring - it makes my trips in the Sydney to Hobart race look like a fun day out on the water.
Neil Williams, Australia

This is huge. It shows what can be done if British companies are prepared to sponsor outstanding individuals. Well done Kingfisher for sponsoring her and well done Ellen. Hopefully this will encourage a few more companies to come forward and sponsor our sailors.
Mark Speirs, Hong Kong

A fantastic achievement on Ellen's part, but spare a thought for the person who came first, and for those still racing!
Mark Kelleher, Syria


Jaw dropping stuff; quite an inspiration."
Mark McCaughrean, Germany

Simply awesome ! I cannot imagine any sporting endeavour which demands more of its competitors and to have excelled in such a field at the age of 24 is phenomenal.
Martin Auton, UK

Ellen has my utmost admiration for her achievements and can consider herself a wonderful example of the youth of today. Someone set outside of the normal mould and a great ambassador to the of the United Kingdom.

I only hope that her achievements and courage are recognised and rewarded.
Carlos Rosa, UK

Jaw-dropping stuff; quite an inspiration. And equally sobering, to think of what Ellen and all the Vendee Globe sailors have been through in the last three months, while most of the rest of us have been going about our everyday lives.
Mark McCaughrean, Germany

Speaking as an ex-submarine CO and occasional offshore sailor (Sydney/ Hobart race 1970's) I'm awe-struck by Ellen's achievement. Ranks up there with Scott of the Antarctic and the first men on the moon. Wonderful, wonderful!
John Lea, USA

Thank goodness for the internet, the coverage of this unique event, and Ellen's great adventure, by the UK media has been poor to say the least.
Mark Lund, UK

Ellen's progress has become an essential part of our family's morning rituals.


Well done Ellen! We in the sailing community are all very proud of your achievements!
Mark Hawkins - Yachtmaster Instructor, UK
Kids don't go to school until we've all found out how she has progressed through the night. Makes me feel very humble!
Geoff Kay, England

As a "round the Worlder" myself I can only say she has been fantastic. Most of us are only recollecting her most recent challenges but we should not forget she actually came out of the race earlier to give help to one of the other boats, and STILL almost won!
Donald Gow, Bahamas

What a marvellous and exciting adventure we have been witness to... reminiscent of the Apollo ventures to the moon. What a story...what a girl!!
Jim, USA

Ellen is giving our sport of sailing a great reputation. It is great to see real spirit being reported instead of the overpaid prima's who spend 90 minutes a week on a pitch, then the rest of the week breaking speed limits and generally trying to look important!

Well done Ellen! We in the sailing community are all very proud of your achievements!
Mark Hawkins - Yachtmaster Instructor, UK

Fantastic performance... a superhuman effort sadly not appreciated by the British public.
Tony Shorthouse, UK

Do you really need to talk of 'tribute'? She hasn't finished her race yet, never mind her career. And 'just how great an achievement is it?' Sure, she's notched up an impressive performance - which looks even better given her injuries and the damage sustained by the yacht.


I congratulate her on being able to live with herself for so long without strangling herself.
John Chudley, Greece
But so do thousands of other sportspeople, many amateur and battling to achieve something without the benefit of intense media interest and massive sponsorship?
Jasper, UK

Presently serving with the Forces in Bosnia...have followed your adventure every step of the way...all immensely proud of your courage and determination. Well done!
Tristan Lovering, Bosnia

A quite extraordinary achievement, demonstrating courage, discipline and single-minded determination that represents the finest role-model to everyone. I hope Ellen is given the highest possible UK award.
Noel Shaw, UK

How anybody endures what I imagine to be extremely long, lonely, cold nights, and still has enough energy to battle in the most terrible weather conditions, I just do not know. She's incredible and deserves all the accolades she's getting.
Jess, England

As an old offshore yachtsman, but never solo, can I congratulate her on being able to live with herself for so long without strangling herself.
John Chudley, Greece

A fantastic feat of endurance, self-belief and skill that few others have achieved. And what a great thing to have done so early in life.
Simon Johns, UK

Brilliant - really shows up the overpaid over-rated football and tennis celebrities
Jinston, UK

What a truly remarkable young woman!! A role model if ever one was needed for the mindless, idle youths that blight every town and village in our land.

Guts, hard graft, ingenuity & positive decision making mark Ellen out as a very special individual. The whole country should marvel & congratulate her on her stunning achievement. Well done!!
Steve, UK

I've been tracking this race since it started. Ellen's shown outstanding skill as a sailor and tactician, and an upbeat tenacity few can match.


Can I submit an early nomination for Sports Personality of the Year?!!!!
Helen, UK
The first to sight icebergs, true monsters of the Southern Ocean, invisible to her radar; to suffer rent sail requiring a climb up the mast in heavy seas; to nearly have her hull ripped from under her; then suffer the threat of catastrophic mast failure -- any of these would surely topple lesser athletes. This is the stuff of heroes!
Wes Collins, USA

A wonderful achievement and demonstrates that the female of the species can equal the male in most things such as endeavor, fortitude & endurance. A great example to the nation and I hope she receives the recognition she deserves
Eddie, UK

Congratulations - when does she do the lap of honour?
Tom, GB

Can I submit an early nomination for Sports Personality of the Year?!!!!
Helen, UK

All I can say is hats off to her - an absolutely remarkable achievement. The thought of four months alone at sea scares the life out of me!! CONGRATULATIONS!!
Adam, UK

Ellen MacArthur in the Vendee Globe race

Home-coming heroine

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