Who would dared dream that the British 23 year old would win her first ever race aboard her new boat
23 year old Ellen MacArthur on board her new Open 60 Kingfisher has won the class 1 monohull division of the Europe 1 New Man STAR, ahead of stiff competition. MacArthur sailing her blue and yellow hulled yacht finished at 1021GMT (0621 local) this morning completing the 2,800 mile course between Plymouth and Newport, RI in a time of 14 days, 23 hours and 11 minutes.
In 8 knots of breeze Kingfisher was sailing at around 10 knots under full main and Solent. Negotating her approach to the finish line it became more gusty and Ellen changed down to her staysail to slow the boat down. On board Ellen was clearly fatigued, but elated.
No one would have dared dream of this result as not only is it Ellen’s first ever victory in a major yacht race but this outstanding performance is on her brand new boat. Ellen and Kingfisher were up against some highly experienced competition in the form of Mike Golding on board Team Group 4 and a number of top French campaigns such as that of Michel Desjoyeaux, who led for the opening stages of the race, Thomas Coville, who was dismasted and Ellen’s former team mate from last year’s Transat Jacques Vabre, Yves Parlier. However Kingfisher showed outstanding pace to windward throughout the race. Ellen read the weather well and made some wise tactical decisions and apart from running over a whale and cutting her face up badly when she fell down the forehatch has continually stretched out her lead over the last week. Despite this being a windward race, this result can only bode well for Ellen’s performance in the Vendee Globe Challenge, the singlehanded nonstop around the world race starting this November.
Prior to crossing the line Kingfisher was shepherded in by a number of boats including her large support team including Jerry Marston, representing her sponsor, retail chain, Kingfisher, and her project director and business partner Mark Turner.
At the time Roland Jourdain on board Sill Beurre le Gall and Mike Golding on board Team Group 4 were 100 miles astern battling for second place with just four mile separating.