And once under way, there was, indeed, a circus atmosphere to the onboard proceedings. Among a small army of boatbuilders, yacht designers, sailmakers, shore crew, and yachting writers, Ellen was almost an afterthought, a lost soul on her own boat. Back ashore, in an aside, one of my colleagues was left so unimpressed by Ellen's on-the-water aura that he confessed to one of her shore managers that he feared for the long-term well-being of the diminutive sailor. Frankly, I shared his misgivings. Did she have any idea what she was getting herself into?