Ellen MacArthur at Learning Without Frontiers Conference

When I was a teenager, Ellen MacArthur was a great inspiration to me. Her autobiography “Taking on the World” where she describes the trial and tribulations of her childhood as she struggles to fulfil her dreams of sailing were particularly inspiring.

I sometimes feel a bit uncomfortable watching people talk about their past successes at conferences. Sure, the audience finds it exciting, but is this really what’s firing the person up? Explaining for the five hundredth time how they pushed themselves to do something five years ago? Do the speakers simply live to retell the story for the five hundred and first time?

Or is there something else that’s driving them now?

When Ellen spoke at Learning Without Frontiers Conference in London last week. it’s clear that she’s not there for the money. Nor is she there to blow her own horn about how amazing she is having sailed round the world and broken records etc.

Have a watch:

Ellen MacArthur – Learning & The Circular Economy

Well done Laura Dekker!

Some of you may remember Laura Dekker – the plucky young dutch girl who, as a 14 year old, was involved in a massive legal battle with the dutch child protection agencies to allow her to sail round the world single handed.

Laura,  who has been sailing from a young age and was born on a yacht, has had a bumpy ride. After she was told she wouldn’t be allowed to go for another two years, she ran away. She didn’t run away to the next town, the next county or even the next country; this badass ran away to the Caribbean!

Anyway, eventually she prevailed in her legal wrangling and on the 21 August 2010, aged 15, she began her voyage which was predicted to take two years. I blogged about it at the time in fact, she showed great persistence in the face of legal, logistical and natural challenges simply by getting to the start line.

Laura Dekker, speaking at the Hiswa Boatshow, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Laura Dekker speaking at the Hiswa Boatshow, Amsterdam last year - CC-BY-SA - From Wikipedia

Whatever her critics said about her, her ambitions, her parents; don’t matter now.

As her website says:

January 21: at 3.00 pm local time Laura will reach the Island of Sint Maarten to complete her circumnavigation after her departure from Sint Maarten on January 20 2011.

Laura will become the youngest sailor ever who sailed around the globe!

…and she’s done it. Well done to her!

It’s been a long trip, but she showed that persistence and tenacity, no matter your age, can literally, take you round the world.

Laura Dekker to set off

I’m so happy for Laura Dekker.

Laura is a 14yro Dutch girl with big ambitions and lots of persistence.

She wants to circumnavigate the world, singlehanded (with stops).

If you remember Laura was told by a court a few months ago that she couldn’t go because she was too young and inexperienced. She’s just managed to talk them round and, as I understand, has already set off!

Whether she completes it or not, as far as I’m concerned, isn’t the point. She’s managed to get to the starting line which, for her, has been incredibly tough in itself. I can only start to imagine her frustrations!

Jessica Watson – a 16 year old Australian, recently successfully completed a non-stop circumnavigation.

But I have so much respect as well for American teen Abby Sutherland as well. She set out on a circumnavigation, got demasted in the south seas and ended up getting rescued.

What makes Abby, Jessica and Laura different is that they had a dream, and they gave it the best they could. It wasn’t easy for any of them – there were hurdles to get to the start line but they all got there. If they hadn’t have tried. None of them would have got there.

This is the AP story about Laura’s breakthrough!

Windsurfing at Glossop Sailing Club

Not so long ago I put together this short video of people windsurfing on a windy day at Glossop Sailing Club.

What do you think of it?

It’s pretty much my first ever watersports video that I’ve spent any time editing and I know I’ve still got a lot to learn…

How would you improve it?

If you think you know an answer, please leave a comment.


The music comes courtesy of Red Light Rippers, with their song “Addicted”.

Filmed on a Sanyo Xacti WH1 and edited solely with KdenLive


All content licenced under: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0
Creative Commons License