Britain's most prestigious sports award, the BBC Sports Personality of the Year was on Sunday night settled after a week of hotly contested discussion in the national papers. MacAthur finished second to England footballer David Beckham.
Ultimately it comes down to a public telephone vote, which was apparently 'very close up until the final minutes' with Britain's star footballer of the moment taking the big prize.
As runner up, sandwiched between two star footballers, David Beckham and Michael Owen, accompanied by Man Utd manager Sir Alex Ferguson, Ellen cut an interesting contrast with the glitzy world of professional football, and for the first time put the sport of sailing on the map in a country which has for too long perceived it as elitist and a rich man's game.
As well as her runner's up prize, Ellen was awarded the Helen Rollason Award for 'outstanding courage and achievement in the face of adversity', presented to her by Tanni Grey-Thompson, Britain's heroic paralmypics athlete.
After the event, Ellen had this to say - "The sports awards ceremony was captivating and none of us really had any idea who was going to win the ultimate trophy, even if the bookies had tipped the footballers. In the end it was apparently a very close vote and I would just like to thank everyone throughout the country who supported me, not only in these awards but throughout the past few years. Its been a great team effort.
David Beckham was a very worthy winner and it was great to meet him and so many other individuals from the world of sport. We all share similar goals, the same kind of challenges and the same drive to be at the top of our respective sports."
On David Beckham she added, "I had a nice chat with him, he was sincere and clearly interested in my own story. At the end of the day what is refreshing in these situations is that regardless of what is written in the press, we are all normal people just living our dreams. David is no different in that respect."
Ellen's busy schedule continues this week with the Sunday Times Woman of the Year awards, a full MacArthur family visit to Buckingham Palace on Wednesday to pick up her MBE, and a flying visit to France for the 'Femmes en Or' awards -then a time for some rest.
On 13 November 2001, Ellen MacArthur was honoured by the world of sailing and presented with the "ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Award 2001". Whilst Ellen was unable to attend the Awards Presentation, as she was competing in the Transat Jacque Vabre, a live link-up took place to her boat Foncia. Paul Brotherton (GBR) received the Award on Ellen's behalf.