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24 September 2014

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You are in: Cornwall > Coast > Ellen MacArthur

Ellen MacArthur celebrates her success

Ellen MacArthur

Welcome to our online Coast walk through Falmouth. Our first point shows off the recently built National Maritime Museum, which was also the spot where thousands welcomed by record breaker Ellen MacArthur in February 2005.

Our walk begins by looking at Falmouth today.

The town's newest attraction is the National Maritime Museum. It is built in a new part of Falmouth that also houses Port Pendennis - Peter De Savory's appartments, and upmarket coffee shops. This area shows off Falmouth today as a thriving area. You can also enjoy amazing and tranquil views of the yachts on the water, along with Cornwall's largest working port - Falmouth Docks.

This was also the spot where thousands of people from Cornwall and further afield joined the world's media in February 2005. The winter sun was shining down on Falmouth as the county welcomed Ellen MacArthur...

Ellen's 75ft trimaran the B&Q

Ellen's 75ft trimaran the B&Q

Ellen returns to hero's welcome

Round-the-world sailor Ellen MacArthur arrived back on dry land in Falmouth, after her 71-day record-breaking voyage.

Under blue skies and accompanied by a huge flotilla of boats, she guided her boat B&Q back to Falmouth in Cornwall to a welcome by thousands of people.

Fans from around the country raised a huge cheer for MacArthur as she pulled up alongside the Port Pendennis Marina and stepped onto dry land.

MacArthur had a few special words for the people of Falmouth as she arrived.

"It is just unbelievable and quite amazing to see so many people here," she said.

"I am so happy to be here in Falmouth and we could not have had a better reception."

Local student Maeve Clarke was among the thousands who greeted MacArthur.

"She's an inspiration to all young sailors. We are totally in awe of what she has done."

Falmouth has welcomed returning sailing heroes before. In 1969, it greeted Robin Knox-Johnston on the first solo voyage around the world, but nothing has ever been seen on the scale of Ellen MacArthur's welcome back in February.

Ellen MacArthur

Ellen MacArthur back in Falmouth

Thousands of banner-waving people packed the area around the Maritime Museum where drummers and other performers created a party atmosphere under a huge screen showing MacArthur's return.

Jonathan Griffin, director of the Maritime Museum, said: "This has revived our island spirit. It is a catalyst for sailing's development. It is everything we hoped for."

Pat Tomlinson, 42, had travelled from Carlisle. She said: "Ellen is really a heroine as far as I am concerned. Everyone should look at her and realise that if they follow their dreams they can do it."

Isle of Wight resident MacArthur and her 75ft trimaran left Falmouth on 27 November last year for the start line at Ushant off the French coast.

Then she was cheered off by a crowd of 400 and a 40-boat flotilla.

Among those enjoying a carnival atmosphere in Falmouth were Arthur and Val Roberts, from Worcester, who set up camp in a small caravanette near Events Square.
Mr Roberts said: "We have been watching it in Worcester and we had to be here. It's a fantastic achievement."

"Everyone should look at her and realise that if they follow their dreams they can do it "

Pat Tomlinson, from Carlisle

Event Square, which today is point one of our online walk, was filled with the cheers from about 8,000 people as Knox-Johnston and MacArthur addressed the crowd from a stage set up outside the Maritime Museum.

Knox-Johnston gave MacArthur a big hug and said: "One year ago Francis Joyon set a record that everyone thought was out of sight, three weeks faster than before. Now this slip of a thing has taken a day off that."

"We are immensely proud of you in Falmouth. You have put us back on the sailing map, and we are all grateful to you, Dame Ellen."

Standing in the square today it's easy to still feel a tingle down your spine, when we remember what one lady has achieved, and how she returned to Falmouth as a record breaker...

We now continue on our Coast walk through Falmouth to learn more about the history of the town. Walk away from the National Maritime Museum, across Events Square back to the main entrance. You should be walking towards a strange pyramid-shaped obelisk. This is the next stage of the walk. 

last updated: 04/03/2008 at 10:12
created: 18/07/2005

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