Thursday, June 24, 2010

Taking on The World: You and Me, Baby!

             by Geeta Malik

Acres of water spread out in every direction; 
icebergs lay in wait under the surface of the 
freezing ocean. Later, the sun would become 
blinding and the wind would tear through Ellen 
MacArthur's sails as she pushed forward alone, 
near Antarctica, in her Kingfisher boat. She
would have to make numerous back-breaking
repairs, facing battering weather and harsh
conditions. The food was freeze-dried, her water 
rationed, and her naptimes often limited to twenty 
minutes in 24 hours. Physical, mental and emotional 
exhaustion were only a few of the obstacles she 
faced on her odyssey around the world.

A year ago, Ellen MacArthur competed in the prestigious Vendee 

Globe 2000, a sailing race that takes a round-the-world tour of 
rough seas and debilitating conditions. At the age of 24, being one 
of two women in the race, Ellen was facing all the odds. She came
in second place, making history with her strength and determination.

Ever since she was a little girl, Ellen knew she wanted to sail. She 

fought hard for sponsorships and saved her money to buy boats 
and equipment. When she began the Vendee Globe race as the 
youngest person and also the smallest in stature (at 5'2), Ellen's
goal was simply to place in the top five. At one point, her sail 
tore and she had to shimmy up the 90-foot mast in stormy weather
to repair it; another time, her boat hit a solid object floating in the 
water and the daggerboard broke. The daggerboard, many times 
Ellen's size and weight, had to be hauled on deck and replaced. 
Ellen lost her lead at this point, but soon returned to second place 
with barely a hitch.

Ellen ended the Vendee Globe 

race after 94 days alone at sea.
She broke records by being 
both the youngest solo sailor and 
completing the fastest non-stop 
circumnavigation of the 
globe by a woman.


Gary Freedman said...

She ended up doing better than top five!

Gary Freedman said...

I loved the part of the book where she stops off at the Galapagos Islands to visit the turtles.