MacArthur's back in Les Sables to cheer on team mate

Chased up a lamp post this morning by one of the press’ more voracious members was our own Dame Ellen MacArthur. She’s back here in Les Sables, where her star began its dizzying ascent eight years ago, but this time she’s dodging the limelight – if not the lamp light – to support her BT team mate Seb Josse.

‘It is great to be here, wonderful to see such a fantastic fleet,’ said Ellen. ‘The fleet has grown of course and it will be very exciting not just to be here for the start, to see the boats leave but also to follow the race. I was here for the 2004 race, but I have not even been on the pontoons yet and so for me it just feels a little bigger. And believe me, just as soon as it is quiet I’ll be down on to the pontoons to have a good look at the boats.’

She could be waiting some time, it’s packed again…

Her team mate Frenchman Seb is racing the Farr designed BT with the numbers 888 on the bow, recalling the numbers borne around the world by Ellen’s Kingfisher. BT, then named Estrella Damm, took part in the two-handed Barcelona World Race with Spain’s Guillermo Altadill and USA’s Jonathan McKee onboard but she retired in Cape Town with rudder damage.

Ellen will be crossing everything in the hope that, as BT, she will enjoy better luck and carry Seb around the world to Vendée Globe victory.