Ellen assessed

Ed Gorman gives his views on Ellen MacArthur's five year plan
See here for our story from the announcement of Ellen's five year plan with Kingfisher Four years ago the then unknown Ellen MacArthur used to hit the phone and persuade you, bamboozle you and generally not give up until you fully understood, what her ambitions in life were - at that stage to race in the Mini-Transat, her first "professional" race. These days - after being crowned offshore racing's world champion and amassing a possibly unsurpassable record of success in short-handed racing - "what Ellen is doing next" has become a very big deal indeed and you have to attend a large-scale press conference to get the gist of it. Scores of journalists, including 30 who had flown over from Paris especially for the announcement, were there at a conference room at the London Boat Show to watch and listen on Thursday as Ellen and her manager, Mark Turner, put on a slick presentation with plenty of the inevitable operatic music backing up the video footage of Kingfisher in the Vendee Globe. Nothing was given away in advance and, as we filed in, the chat was all about what we expected to hear. Some were spreading mischievous rumours that Ellen was going to shock us all by announcing her retirement - like any normal 25-year-old she was going to settle down and have children. Others, that she was carrying on in sport but not in sailing. Ellen is, of course, not your normal 25-year-old by a long chaulk but she did surprise some of us, not so much by what she said she was going to do as much as what she ruled out, as she spoke confidently, without notes, dressed in black jeans and a crisp blue shirt emblazoned with the logo of her company, Offshore Challenges. As we listened it became clear that neither