- Ellen MacArthur
On February 7th 2005, Ellen MacArthur became the fastest person to ever sail around the world single-handed. That alone is reason enough to buy and read this book. It uses her personal logs, emails, audio and video diaries over the full 71 day journey.
What I didn’t realise is that the record had stood at ninety-three days. But just as the B&Q (the name of the boat and a major sponsor) was being launched a Frenchman called Francis Joyon slashed twenty days off the record. So when Ellen’s first attempt at the record started on 28th November 2004 she knew it wasn’t going to be plain sailing (sorry, couldn’t resist). The book then starts to read like a thriller. Each day denotes how far ahead or behind she was in relation to the Frenchman. Day forty-five says that she was 5 days and 8 minutes ahead 380 miles west of Cape Horn. You would think that she would have enough of a lead considering that she only had to sail from the South Atlantic, over the equator and back to home. By day fifty-eight that lead had dropped to nothing and at day fifty-nine she was 10 hours behind.
Of course I knew that she would sail home safely and beat the record, but for the last quarter of the book I was willing her on.