Full Circle by Ellen MacArthur

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Full Circle by Ellen MacArthur

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Category: Autobiography
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: Ellen MacArthur brings us up-to-date on her final professional races and what she's being doing since. Inspirational and a good read.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 416 Date: September 2010
Publisher: Michael Joseph Ltd
ISBN: 978-0718148638

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It's some years since I read Taking on the World and – against all expectations thoroughly enjoyed it. I'm not a sailor and don't have a great deal of interest in yacht racing – but what appealed to me immediately was the character of someone who was determined not to let anything stand in the way of her ambitions. My only disappointment came later as I felt that the book had been written too soon – I really wanted to know about that big race and what you do with the future when you've done everything. How lucky did I feel when Full Circle landed on my desk?

The subtitle is My Life and Journey and if you're looking for a book about A Journey in 2010 this is the one to go for and you really shouldn't worry if, like me, you're read any of her earlier books. You're getting very little in the way of duplication – in fact even if you have read the earlier books you'll look on what repetition there is as just reminding you of where the story had got to. This book covers the final victory in Kingfisher and the story of her non-stop circumnavigation of the globe in 2004/5. I know how the story ended – but from the giant waves of the Southern oceans to that incredible finish against the clock I simply couldn't put the book down.

The stories are told with a complete lack of self-glorification (which, in the circumstances, would have been forgivable) and with the credit for the achievements always shared with the team who made it all possible. She doesn't just stick to the highs and successes of the journey either – she's quite frank about how lonely, tiring and dispiriting it was on occasions. There were occasions when I was reading that I put the book down and was faintly surprised to find myself warm and dry!

And then came the surprising news that Ellen was giving up ocean racing. Her mind was moving in different directions. For some years she'd been devoting much of her energy to the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust which took children who had suffered from cancer on sailing trips and gave them the best medicine – laughter and self-confidence. Now she was moving in another direction, worried that the way we were all living was simply not sustainable in the long term and that we needed to rethink our way of life. Full Circle was published to coincide with the launch of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

The book is a remarkable mixture of the nail-biting life of the ocean sailor and the rather more humdrum life of the land-based, but such is Ellen's attitude that it's all immensely readable and totally inspiring.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

If you haven't yet read Taking on the World you should. If you'd like to look at sailing from closer to the bottom of the pile we can recommend Missing the Boat: Chasing a Childhood Sailing Dream by Michael Hutchinson.

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Buy Full Circle by Ellen MacArthur at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Full Circle by Ellen MacArthur at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Full Circle by Ellen MacArthur at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Full Circle by Ellen MacArthur at Amazon.com.


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