MacArthur to campaign to save the planet

Ellen MacArthur has announced that she’s to give up ocean racing – for the time being. Appearing on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, she told host Kirsty Young that ‘there is a part of me that wants that record back but something’s stopping me do it,’ in response to Young’s question if Ellen would try to retain the solo round the world record which she set in 2005 and which Frenchman Francis Joyon then reclaimed.

Putting in context some reports that she has quit the ocean for good, Ellen concluded: ‘My love for sailing is as strong as it has ever been; from the age of 4 I have dreamt about it and been fascinated by it. The sea for me brings the most incredible feeling of freedom, and never ceases to amaze me. But a life at sea has opened my eyes to things I did not expect too; things which once I had learnt I could not ignore.

‘I realised that on land we don’t see things as precious anymore. We take what we want. This world that I thought as a child was the biggest, most adventurous place you could imagine, is not that big. And there’s an awful lot of us on it. And we’re not managing the resources that we have as you would on a boat because we don’t have the impression that these resources are limited.’

‘If I manage to communicate what I have learned, then I shall be the first person to be off to sea again! I miss the long periods at sea hugely, but for now I feel I have something more important to do.’

‘I can’t go back to sea and go round the world again because this really matters.’