Twelve years ago I had an ambition, that ambition being to compete in the Volvo Ocean Race competitively. Having just competed the 2001/2002 Volvo Ocean Race, I was busting with enthusiasm and drive to do the Race again and do it better. That dream became a reality when I chased down a position with Team SCA in 2012 and successfully made the cut.
It was a difficult decision at first, given my change in personal circumstances; I became a Mum in 2011 and had moved away from professional sailing, focusing more on the shore side logistics of professional sailing events. However, ambitions never die and golden opportunities are rare, so having worked through the emotional and practical factors of leaving my family for long periods of time, I embarked on a new journey.
Now having completed the 2014/2015 Volvo Ocean Race and reflecting back on the journey and the achievements of the team, I am proud. For sure, anyone looking solely at the overall results may not think that Team SCA was successful, but our successes shine through in many other ways. Commercial revenue targets have been far surpassed, and the inspiration given to people – especially women – across the globe has been astounding.
The messages of support throughout our journey have been astounding, I was particularly touched by one 80 year old lady in Ohio who wrote to the Team on Leg 5 saying that we had given her the encouragement she needed to achieve something that had up until then had been a barrier. Messages like that were extremely motivational, especially at times when life on board was miserable and conditions were tough going and I was questioning my sanity for embarking on such a Race.
So what’s next for me……I am currently transitioning from professional sailor back to full time mum and enjoying making up for lost time with my 3 year old son, and relieving my husband of his lion’s share of parenting over the last 2 years, something for which I am eternally grateful as without his prolonged support my participation would have remained a dream and not a reality.
I will be re-joining the Americas’ Cup Race management team on a part-time basis, something I had been part of prior to joining Team SCA so I am looking forward to re-uniting with colleagues and working shore side but still at the cutting edge of the sport of sailing.
As for the future, I’m sure the lure of the sea will draw me back sooner rather than later, recently I couldn’t resist an offer to go 5.5 meter racing and have already had my son out sailing a small sports boat! Further afoot, I sincerely hope that there will be an all women’s team in the next edition of the Volvo Ocean Race and I hope to play a part in some shape or form.
On a final note I hope that what Team SCA has achieved will inspire people to have ambition, and not be afraid, to go out there and pursue it. Turn your dream into reality.