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Ellen MacArthur's Biography

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After sailing more than 27,000 miles in less than 72 days, Ellen MacArthur took the solo, non-stop, round-the-world sailing record.

Ellen MacArthur was born on 8 July, 1976 in Derbyshire.

She was introduced to sailing when she was 4, by an aunt.

Having scrimped and saved, when she left school at 17, Ellen MacArthur bought an eight-foot dinghy, which she named Threp'ny Bit, and, the following year, a 21-foot Corribee named Iduna, on which she single-handedly sailed around Britain.

As a result, in 1995 she was voted British Young Sailor of the Year.

In 1998, MacArthur came fifth overall in the Route de Rhum transatlantic race and was named Yachtsman of the Year.

Two years later Ellen Macarthur finished second in the Vendee Globe round-the-world event. She was the youngest woman to sail solo round the world.

In November 2002, MacArthur entered the arduous Route du Rhum once again and this time won in a record time.

2003 and 2004 featured near-misses for Ellen MacArthur. In 2003 she failed in her attempt on the Jules Verne round-the-world record when a mast broke.

In 2004 MacArthur failed by just 75 minutes to gain the west-east transatlantic record.

But 2005 was a crowning year for Ellen MacArthur and more than made up for the tough times and the many years not just on the rough seas but also in the daunting task of gaining sponsorship and other down-to--earth impediments.

5ft 2in MacArthur beat Francis Joyon's solo round-the-world record when she circumnavigated the globe in 71 days, 14 hours, 18 minutes and 33 seconds.

Ellen MacArthur told The Telegraph that she did not regard herself as brave:

"I'm not brave. I just choose to do things that push me very hard. That's not bravery, that's a choice ... Now, real bravery is in the kids I go sailing with four weekends a year. Kids with cancer and leukaemia. When you see what they deal with every day, with big smiles and such energy, it's such a lesson. So humbling. It's taught me a lot. It really has. All that round-the-world-sailing has taught me is that I must be crazy."

After her world record she was immediately honoured, and became Dame Ellen MacArthur.

Ellen did not stop there and went after other challenges including setting a number of world records in Asia.

In October 2009, Ellen MacArthur announced her retirement from competitive sailing to focus on environmental campaigning.

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