Tuesday, March 27, 2012

When Ellen MacArthur came up the Thames

Ellen MacArthur about to board the Cutty Sark

The Trimaran B&Q at Greenwich

Sunday 20th February 2005 was a special day, British yachtswoman 28 year old  Ellen MacArthur was visiting London in her Trimaran racing yatch, the B&Q. Fifteen days earlier she had broken the world record for sailing around the world solo, this had been done in 71 days, 14 hours, 18 minutes and 33 seconds, the record would hold until 2008, when it was relinquished by her friend Francis Joyon.
She sailed up the Thames to the crowded Tower Bridge and back down to Greenwich where she would do a walk around to meet the public and appear on a giant video screen outside the Tea clipper Cutty Sark. Like millions of others I had been following her progress all the way, I hoped she wouldn't sacrifice her purple mascot Slinky to Father Neptune at the equator  and she didn't, sending him a piece of jewelry instead.
I was determined to get a 'celebrity snap' and after photographing her boat on the Thames (see above) went to a metal bollard near the door cut in the ships side, before the crowds gravitated there, that was as close as the public could get and actually a couple of feet past the erected fence too...I was still a member of the Cutty Sark Trust and wore the badges, but still glared at the jobsworth  security guard with X-ray eyes 'don't you dare'...he let me stay probably because I'd only get a replacement, so there I perched like  a Pixie for more than an hour on a post just big enough to balance on...just a bit uncomfortable but I was well rewarded with the photo you see above. A korean girl next to me had wanted a photo and an autograph, but never got either, act is Ellen was being ushered away from the crowd at this point onto her next stage aboard the ship to meet people like the Mayor of Greenwich and friends. Secret here is to stay focused!
Later that week I discovered a friend of mine was the cab driver who took her away to her hotel in the evening..small world as well as a giant one!
Find her website on my Links page!.. http://www.seawitchartist.com/links.htm

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