Sailing on the Front Page. 2


Yesterday, the front page of the Sunday Times in the UK featured a story about Ellen MacArthur. Written by the paper’s Arts Editor it included a picture and the ‘news’ that MacArthur was retiring from competitive sailing. Instead, Dame Ellen would focus on saving the planet. All this coincided with an appearance on the radio program ‘Desert Island Discs’.

For many, the news is not so surprising, (We’ve been digging around in the archives for a similar statement made by MacArthur that is several months old, but didn’t get anywhere near the coverage). The team that bears her name – BT Team Ellen – employs Seb Josse and Nick Maloney to skipper the Open 60 and Extreme 40 respectively, though Ellen has continued to do some sailing her sailing Cv on her website doesn’t list anything after 2007.

The story says more about the pull of the radio program than anything else. Reportedly running since 1942, Desert Island Discs has an audience that sailing rarely gets and therefore is a great platform to promote the causes that MacArthur is now promoting.

And while those messages are undoubtedly important, it seems a shame that when sailing does get front page press it is for all the wrong reasons. Despite crediting the sport with her unique view of the world, MacArthur also describes offshore sailing as “brutally selfish” and suggests that competitive sailing is not-important in the fight against the environmental issues facing the planet.

Competitive sailing, more than some other sports is a great platfrom to highlight the problems to a wider audience, something that TEAMORIGIN have embraced through their recent deal with the Carbon Trust. The TeamOrigin announcement is perhaps more newsworthy, as it promises to engage corporates and to create an ongoing platfrom to bring attention to the issues. Perhaps Sir Keith needs to get on Desert Island Discs.

The Sunday Times Article can be read here…

  • PRPeta

    We're heading into Panto season and there's nothing like a pint-sized Dame for attracting attention!

    Whilst not suggesting for a nano-second that Ellen remotely equates to a panto figure, a deep pocketed Knight of the realm with a penchant for competitive yachting maybe doesn't quite cut the mustard when it comes to front page stories about sailing despite the fact that the TEAMORIGIN/Carbon Trust story is a strong message. If I was advising Sir Keith, I might even suggest approaching Ellen to get involved to help further publicise this new relationship. However, even I was very surprised that 'news' of her retirement and eco campaigning morphed into a national news item of such proportions on Sunday. Impressive!

  • PRPeta

    We're heading into Panto season and there's nothing like a pint-sized Dame for attracting attention!

    Whilst not suggesting for a nano-second that Ellen remotely equates to a panto figure, a deep pocketed Knight of the realm with a penchant for competitive yachting maybe doesn't quite cut the mustard when it comes to front page stories about sailing despite the fact that the TEAMORIGIN/Carbon Trust story is a strong message. If I was advising Sir Keith, I might even suggest approaching Ellen to get involved to help further publicise this new relationship. However, even I was very surprised that 'news' of her retirement and eco campaigning morphed into a national news item of such proportions on Sunday. Impressive!