A little misunderstanding on the way to Ellen MacArthur's fluent French


Yesterday I had a laugh at confusing Franglais press releases but I mustn’t give the impression it’s one-sided.

Many of those gathered in Paris to hear about BT’s sponsorship of ‘Team Ellen’ were surprised to hear Ellen MacArthur speak confidently in French. She is fluent now, but confesses to a few moments along the way.

Ellen learned French when she was preparing for the Mini Transat race 10 years ago. As a young 20-year-old, she had been working and living in French boatyards, learning everything as she went along. So what she was picking up was spiked with sailors’ slang.

When she finished 17th in the Mini Transat she did her first big interview with the French press, and was asked how she was feeling. She replied that she was exhausted but really excited.

However it came out more like: “I’m totally shagged out but I’m feeling really horny!”

I think that was then that Mark Turner suggested it was time to learn proper French.