Adrenaline rush

Ellen MacArthur spoke to Ed Gorman about second place, trimaran racing and being the world's top ranked skipper
On a bad line from the Brazilian port of Salvador de Bahia, Ellen MacArthur sounded at once exhausted and exhiliarated after her first short-handed transatlantic race in a 60ft trimaran. She and Frenchman Alain Gautier had come so close to pulling off a remarkable victory in the Transat Jacques Vabre aboard the relatively old Kingfisher-Foncia, but the failure of the bowsprit and problems with the hydraulic rams which support the mast just a few hundred miles from the finish, put paid to that. Clearly there was disappointment at losing out to Franck Cammas and Steve Ravussin on Groupama at the death, but Ellen always knew it was going to be a "big ask" to get Foncia all the way to Brazil ahead of so many other newer and faster boats. "It was frustrating," she said from her hotel room after snatching a couple of hours sleep. "We were so lucky until that point, we'd had no problems at all. Even through the heavy conditions the boat was absolutely spot-on, other than breaking one gennaker. "Then to have that one night when just everything went wrong - you think what next? It was one thing to break the bowsprit, but then an hour-and-a-half later to find you can't gybe that was really unbelievable," she added. The hydraulics used to cant the mast had broken. Ellen and Alain had fought off Groupama for several days as the green and white tri crept up on them. They were, in fact, holding them within sight and beginning to think they could go all the way when the wheels suddenly came off on Foncia and they were left to settle for second. "When we got to the end stage, Groupama was doing a knot-and-a-half more than we were," Ellen said. "It was a case