Ellen MacArthur Dame Ellen Patricia MacArthur (born 8 July 1976) is anEnglish sailor fromWhatstandwell near Matlock in Derbyshire, now based in West Cowes, on the Isle of Wight. She is best known as a 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.
Ellen MacArthur was born in Derbyshire where she lived with her parents, two brothers (Fergus and Lewis) and Border Collie Sheepdog Mac. She acquired her early interest in sailing, firstly by her desire to emulate her idol at the time, Sophie Burke and, secondly by reading Arthur Ransome's Swallows and Amazons books and is the Patron of the Nancy Blackett Trust which owns and operates Ransome's yacht, Nancy Blackett. Her first experience of sailing was on a boat owned by her Aunt Thea on the east coast of England. She saved her school dinner money for eight years in order to buy her first boat, an eight foot dinghy, which she named Threp'ny Bit.
When she was 17, Ellen bought a Corribee named 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) yacht Le Poisson herself while living in a French boatyard.
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 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 2005, MacArthur beat Francis Joyon's existing world record for a single-handed non-stop circumnavigation. MacArthur in the trimaranB&Q/Castorama sailed 27,354 nautical miles (50,660 km) at an average speed of 15.9 knots. Her time of 71 days, 14 hours, 18 minutes 33 seconds. Ellen had no more than 20 minutes' sleep at a time, having to be on constant lookout day and night.