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Special Event

Sailing Sensation Ellen MacArthur Discusses Voyage Around the Globe

Aired February 15, 2001 - 12:07 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: We're going to leave the White House and take you across the pond to Southampton, England. Sailor Ellen MacArthur giving her first -- giving her news conference since coming to her home port after making sailing history. Let's listen in.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

ELLEN MACARTHUR, SOLO YACHTSWOMAN: ... you have a dream and you can really achieve it. And one of my dreams at the moment is to just home and not change. And of course seeing so many cameras around, I mean, how can anyone miss what's going on? But at the end of the day, why should I change? There's no reason.

QUESTION: Have you got plans to go to Dobshire (ph) in the near future?

MACARTHUR: I Will be going home at some point, but it's not yet been decided when. But my parents came out to the finish and I managed to spend some time with them in France. It was fantastic. Although, I'm missing my dog and I'm looking very much forward to seeing her.

(LAUGHTER)

QUESTION: Have you done anything yet that you really missed doing while you were at sea?

MACARTHUR: I think I walked on grass, which was quite nice because I hadn't done that for quite a while. I haven't seen everyone, really. But I don't miss that much when I'm out there. I really enjoy it and I'm pretty much at home.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: T.C. (ph).

QUESTION: Ellen, (OFF-MIKE) tumbling down the motorway, which was just an awesome sight. What did you feel when you saw that?

MACARTHUR: It was amazing to see it. I had no idea she was going to be out there. And I had a little sail the day after I finished in the harbor, which was great because it's been a long time since I sailed her.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) MACARTHUR: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

QUESTION: You got any plans to sail Aduna (ph) this year?

MACARTHUR: I'd love to put her in the water at some stage. Hopefully I will find a home first and have her somewhere near there. But for the moment, actually, to take a bit of time off and spend some time with everyone.

QUESTION: Can I ask a question?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To the right.

QUESTION: Ellen, you are sailing around the world. You have to be an engineer, a rigger, sailmaker, a software engineer, a cook, a doctor...

MACARTHUR: Not a cook.

QUESTION: Not a cook.

(LAUGHTER)

QUESTION: You're a regular Jack-of-all-trades. When you think about it, you're a master of all of them. What is the thing that actually you found most difficult to do of all those disciplines, that comes least naturally to you?

MACARTHUR: I don't think there was one particular thing I found really hard. I think the whole thing was a big learning experience. And I think the hardest thing is learning about managing yourself, to be honest.

QUESTION: Really.

MACARTHUR: Because you're out there for three months. And I did get very down (UNINTELLIGIBLE). There was some times when I was just completely exhausted. And the hardest thing was actually pulling myself around, because at the end of the day no one else can do that for you. There's only you on the boat.

QUESTION: Well, we watched you every week and we got the e-mails you sent back. And doing all this work and having time to send all this media information back and taking all the film, it's just astonishing. How do you manage to do it all, discipline yourself?

MACARTHUR: I do it because my heart wants to and it doesn't matter how much you've got on and how big the problems are. It's fantastic to be able to share the race and I -- and the support from people all over the world throughout the race, it's been really important to me, and to the team, to the whole project. And it's because you want to share it, because you want people to know what's going on, you want people to share the hard times and the good times. So you somehow find the energy and the energy comes back through that support.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Another question, in the red jacket.

QUESTION: Yes, Ellen, you said that when you were up on the mast that time you came close to death. You actually used those words. How serious was that, what happened? Did you get stuck and couldn't get down?

MACARTHUR: Well, to a certain extent, the really hard times are the times that you almost start to forget when you come back. And it's that allows you to go again. But the time -- the worst time was when I was coming up just before the doldrums and I to climb the mast two consecutive mornings. And the second, I got -- basically, the sail trapped me between the rigging and the sail as it swung around. The boat dived seven times within about a half an hour as a squall went through, and I was at the top of the mast when it did it.

So that was pretty -- it was pretty violent. The motion of the boat was incredibly, incredibly -- just basically it was just trying to throw me off the rig. And I came back down black and blue and completely exhausted. It was pretty hard, that one.

KAGAN: Been listening to comments from, as you saw, sailing sensation Ellen MacArthur. Only 24 years old, a British citizen, she became the youngest person to sail around the world, also the fastest woman to sail around the world. She did it in less than 100 days and it was part of the Vendee Globe race where people take their yachts and race it around the world. An outsider, a woman and a young person making sailing history there.

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