MacArthur’s mainsail

YACHTSWOMAN Ellen MacArthur and her all-woman crew returned triumphantly to set a new around-the-world solo sailing record of just over 71 days and 14 hours, beating Frenchman Francis Joyon’s previous best time, set last year, by 32 hours. The 28-year-old travelled 27,000 miles in her 75ft trimaran to enter the record books as she crossed the imaginary line between Lizard Point and Ushant on the coast of France. During her epic voyage circumnavigating the globe, MacArthur also set a new solo record time to the Equator, nearly capsized, came to an almost complete standstill in absolute calm and was hit by a violent 40-knot storm which brought 20ft waves with it. But she survived and returned a hero. It is difficult to imagine what challenge is next on her agenda.