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Ellen MacArthur joins Entente Cordiale

LONDON, Jan 15 (AFP) – Record-breaking British yachtswoman Ellen MacArthur will join British and French warships in the promotion of sailing events to celebrate 100 years of the Entente Cordiale between the two nations later this year, it was announced Thursday.

MacArthur, 27, on board the British frigate Northumberland in east London at the 50th London Boat Show, took part in the official launch of the partnership between the two navies and her sailing team, Offshore Challenges.

“The sea has played an enormous role in the history of both Britain and France,” she told those gathered at the launch including Britain’s Chief of Naval Staff Sir Alan West, and the French defence attache Rear Admiral Jean-Pierre Tiffou.

“Today this strong association lives on in yacht racing as in many areas of our lives and I am delighted to be a part of this alliance to promote both the maritime environment and the relationships between the two countries,” she said.

One of the main events that this partnership aims to promote is the single-handed transatlantic yacht race from Plymouth, in south England, to Boston in the United States on May 31.

Ships from both the British and French navies will see the yacht racers on their way in the race, the first of which was won in 1960 by British sailor Sir Francis Chichester.

Since Chichester, French sailors have largely dominated the encounter.Among other maritime events expected to celebrate the Entente Cordiale is a visit to Portsmouth, south England, by the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle in June.

The Entente Cordiale was a colonial-era agreement signed in London in April 1904 that heralded an unprecedented era of cooperation between the two countries after a long period of rivalry.

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II will offically open commemorations with a three-day state visit to France on April 5.

MacArthur came in second at the Vendee Round the Globe yacht race in 2001, one of the world’s toughest solo yacht races, behind Frenchman Michel Desjoyeaux.


                                Subject: France news