Former record holder for the fastest solo circumnavigation of the globe
"Dame Ellen MacArthur, DBE is a retired English sailor, from Whatstandwell near Matlock in Derbyshire, now based in Cowes, Isle of Wight.
MacArthur is a successful solo long-distance yachtswoman. On 7 February 2005 she broke the world record for the fastest solo circumnavigation of the globe, a feat which gained her international renown. Francis Joyon, the Frenchman who had held the record before MacArthur, was able to recover the record again in early 2008.
Following her retirement from professional sailing on 2 September 2010, MacArthur announced the launch of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, a charity that works with business and education to accelerate the transition to a circular economy.
Her first experience of sailing was on a boat owned by her aunt Thea MacArthur on the east coast of England. She saved her school dinner money for three years to buy her first boat, an eight-foot dinghy, which she named Threp'ny Bit even though decimalisation had taken place before she was born. She sellotaped a real 'threepenny bit' coin onto the bow.
MacArthur attended Wirksworth County Infants and Junior Schools and the Anthony Gell School and also worked at a sailing school in Hull. When she was 17, MacArthur bought a Corribee and named it Iduna; she described the first moment she saw it as "love at first sight". In 1995 she sailed Iduna single-handed on a circumnavigation of Great Britain.
In 1997 she finished 17th in the Mini Transat solo transatlantic race after fitting out her 21 ft (6.4 m) Classe Mini yacht Le Poisson herself while living in a French boatyard.
She was named 1998 British Telecom/Royal Yachting Association "Yachtsman of The Year" in the UK and "Sailing's Young Hope" in France.
Asteroid 20043 Ellenmacarthur is named after her.
MacArthur first came to general prominence in 2001 when she came second in the Vendée Globe solo round-the-world sailing race in her Owen Clarke/Rob Humphreys designed Kingfisher , and subsequently MacArthur was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to sport. At 24, she was the youngest competitor to complete the voyage.
In 2003, she captained a round-the-world record attempt for a crewed yacht in Kingfisher 2, but was thwarted by a broken mast in the Southern Ocean….
Her first significant record attempt in 2004 to break the west–east transatlantic crossing time failed by around one and a quarter hours, after over seven days of sailing.
She began her attempt to break the solo record for sailing non-stop around the world on 28 November 2004. During her circumnavigation, she set records for the fastest solo voyage to the equator, past the Cape of Good Hope, past Cape Horn and back to the equator again. She crossed the finishing line near the French coast at Ushant at 22:29 UTC on 7 February 2005 beating the previous record set by French sailor Francis Joyon by 1 day, 8 hours, 35 minutes, 49 seconds. Her time of 71 days, 14 hours, 18 minutes 33 seconds is world record for the 27,354 nautical miles (50,660 km) covered. This is an average speed of 15.9 knots (29.4 km/h).
On 8 February 2005, following her return to England, it was announced that she was to be made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in recognition of her achievement. It is believed that she is the youngest ever recipient of this honour… MacArthur was also granted the rank of Honorary Lieutenant Commander, Royal Naval Reserve on the same day.
In recognition of her achievement she was appointed a Knight (Chevalier) of the French Legion of Honour by President Nicolas Sarkozy in March 2008. She is a fluent French speaker…
In October 2009 MacArthur announced her intention to retire from competitive racing to concentrate on the subject of resource and energy use in the global economy.
On 2 September 2010, she launched the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, a charity focusing on accelerating the transition to a regenerative circular economy…
In June 2000, MacArthur sailed the monohull Kingfisher from Plymouth, UK to Newport, Rhode Island, USA in 14 days, 23 hours, 11 minutes. This is the current record for a single-handed woman monohull east-to-west passage, and also the record for a single-handed woman in any vessel.
MacArthur's second place in the 2000–2001 edition of the Vendée Globe, with a time of 94 days, 4 hours and 25 minutes, is the world record for a single-handed, non-stop, monohull circumnavigation by a woman.
In June 2004, MacArthur sailed her trimaran B&Q/Castorama from Ambrose Light, Lower New York Bay, USA to Lizard Point, Cornwall, UK in 7 days, 3 hours, 50 minutes. This set a new world record for a transatlantic crossing by women, beating the previous crewed record as well as the singlehanded version.
In 2005, MacArthur beat Francis Joyon's existing world record for a single-handed non-stop circumnavigation… Her time of 71 days, 14 hours, 18 minutes 33 seconds beat Joyon's then world record time by 1 day, 8 hours, 35 minutes and 49 seconds. She had no more than 20 minutes' sleep at a time during the voyage, having to be on constant lookout day and night. On 23 November 2007 Joyon set off in IDEC 2 in an attempt to beat MacArthur's current world record for a single handed circumnavigation. He achieved his goal in 57 days, 13 hours 34 minutes and 6 seconds. Despite Joyon's reclamation of the record, Robin Knox-Johnston still described MacArthur's time as an "amazing achievement".
In 2003, MacArthur set up the Ellen MacArthur Trust (now the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust), a registered charity, to take young people, aged between 8 and 24 inclusive, sailing to help them regain their confidence on their way to recovery from cancer, leukaemia and other serious illnesses.
In 2008 MacArthur joined forces with other sports celebrities to launch an appeal to raise £4 million for the Rainbows children's hospice. The aim is to give terminally ill young people their own customised sleeping unit to enable children in separate age groups to have their families stay with them." (1)