Racing Around The World

Phillips_yacht race CBS

Sometimes just the numbers are enough to tell the story.

A 60-foot boat. A 24,000-mile 'round-the-world, non-stop race. Ninety-one days out there so far — and counting. And the number of crew on board throughout this ordeal? One.

Competing in the Vendee Globe challege, Ellen MacArthur has become an unlikely worldwide hero — surviving on dehydrated food and 20-minute cat naps — she's poised to beat the odds and beat the big boys at their own game, reports CBS News Correspondent Mark Phillips.

It was hard enough even before last week, when she ran into one of the semi-submerged transport containers that fall off ships and litter the oceans. Her exhaustion after two full days of repair work was obvious in her confession to the on-board Web-cam.


Ellen MacArthur Interview
Click here to see an interview with CBS News Correspondent Mark Phillips and sailor Ellen MacArthur.
"And it's such a relief; that was the hardest thing I've had to do on the whole trip. I'm so tired and have so little energy and fighting with something so big and heavy, that was just, oh God, just too much," admits MacArthur.

Yet Ellen now finds herself just behind the leader, screaming for the finish on the west coast of France in a race she had once said she'd be satisfied just to survive. In satellite-link interviews she's become amazed at her worldwide fame.

"Sharing this project with the world has been one of the most amazing things that has happened in the race and I really do feel that I haven't been out here alone and that to me has been very, very special and I wouldn't change that for anything," she said.

The race will likely end over the weekend. To many people, Ellen MacArthur is already the winner.


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  • CBSNews.com staff CBSNews.com staff

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