Dinner is a freeze-dried meal – entirely vegetarian – with a dollop of chili sauce, followed by my evening multivitamin. All washed down with gallons of tea.
I read for the first time about the Vendée Globe race at the end of my teenage years. I had started to go sailing and was captivated by ocean racing. I read all the books I could about the Whitbread and the thought of running across an ocean to a world I hadn’t yet discovered really appealed to me. But everyone I read in the books and magazines was a man. Then I picked up a magazine and read for the first time about the Vendée Globe race (or BOC challenge which was before).
It was a daring event, racing alone in a 60ft boat nonstop solo around the world seemed like the most difficult thing a sailor could do. But I noticed that there were women competing alongside the men on an equal footing and that was it. I wanted to do it.
This race is probably one of the most demanding endurance events on the planet and I have worked really hard to gain the skills and experience to compete here. The boats are huge and powerful, you are totally on your own without any help, it requires you to have skills not only in sailing and navigation, but also in problem solving, engineering, electronics, as well as in extreme environments and sleep deprivation. And men and women compete on an equal footing. In the rest of the ocean racing world, from grassroots to pro, there is a huge lack of female participation.
When you go into a race like this, you are keenly aware of anything that could go wrong, endanger me, or end my race. My role on the boat is not just to sail fast and in the right direction but to find these problems before they arise and to keep the boat in good working order.
Already the first week, I had to climb the mast while I was sailing, after a big storm moved part of the rigging.