Ellen MacArthur in the DHL First Nation Home

Thierry Martinez / Sea & Co/ Ellen MacArthur Foundation
The girl wonder, sailor turned eco-economist, tells us of today's voyage and her Foundation's push towards a circular economy
It seems hard to believe that the lass from land-locked Derbyshire, who made such a name for herself in shorthanded offshore racing - finishing second to MichDes aboard Kingfisher in the 2000-1 Vendee Globe and then setting a new solo non-stop around the world record in her B&Q Castorama trimaran in 2005 – should have undergone such as almighty career change into an 'eco-economist', spearheading the drive towards a ‘circular economy’ via her Ellen MacArthur Foundation. The rather thin excuse for this interview is that today Dame Ellen MacArthur is returning to the water, playing her part in the British team competing in the DHL First Nation Home, as part of Sport Relief 2012. This will involve her skippering a Challenge yacht from Belfast to Stranraer with the England team, led by rugby international Josh Lewsey, and comprising other rugby stars Phil Vickery and Martin Corry, Olympic cycling gold medallist Chris Boardman and TV presenters Phil Spencer and Katy Hill, among others. In the DHL First Nation Home, four teams from Scotland, England, Wales and Ireland, started off from their respective capitals on Saturday in an eight day long lap of the British Isles and Ireland that involves running, cycling, rowing and, of course sailing. While Ellen is leading the England team’s sailing effort, taking on this role in the other teams includes Ian Moore for Ireland, Jock Wishart for Scotland and Finn sailor Ed Wright for Wales. The event culminates on 25 March with a six mile run – the RanSlam - into the four capital cities involved, which anyone can take part in. It seems reasonably hard to find out what is going on in this in real time, however the whole event looks set to come together in a television show to be broadcast by the BBC on 25 March