106. Sophie’s Choice

Further to the previous blog, all 11 yachts sailed from Airlie Beach earlier today and are currently motoring the 150 or so nautical miles to be clear of the Great Barrier Reef. They will RV in the vicinity of 019.47S 150.23E at 1500 local time tomorrow, 21 Jan, for a “Le Mans” start to Leg 5. In the meantime ……

Sophie on the helm during Leg 3, Cape Town to Fremantle (via Durban!)

Keen readers will have met Sophie before.

Sophie and I did Level 4 training together last July (see Blog 81, Race 2, Day 3 Latest ……. 4,800 nautical miles still left to Race, so let’s wind the clock back a bit …, published 18 September 2019) and immediately before that, the UNICEF team building weekend.

Sophie, standing, far left.
left to right – Shaneil, Sophie, me, Jo, Angie. Level 4 training July 2019

Sophie was part of the UNICEF team on Leg 1 from London to Portugal and Portugal to Uruguay and then left, rejoining in Cape Town for Leg 3 to Fremantle.


The UNICEF team at Leg 3 race start in Cape Town, Sophie front row 3rd from the left.
The same team (minus Andy and Thomas landed in Durban) on arrival Fremantle, Sophie, kneeling, 4th from the right.

Sophie, along with John Dillon, was also responsible for organising and leading our Sunday Fundays on Leg 3, a sort of mildly chaotic attempt to break the routine with 30 minutes or so of organised madness around our lunchtime meetings on a Sunday. Sunday Fundays invariably involved chocolate …. or sweets……..of some description, carefully rationed lemonade or coke (the nearest we ever got to booze), a pop-up Turkey for US Thanksgiving Day, a range of decorations for birthday cakes and “games” of all sorts from our own version of Countdown conundrums, to a version of Pictionary, rehearsing our Christmas Carol, Secret Santa presents – with an option to “twist” and swap presents if you didn’t like the one you got! and on Advent Sunday arranging a visit from Santa (aka Kiwi Keith).

On this latter Sunday, Seb, Sandra and Mike Willis were all invited to sit on Santa’s knee while one member of the crew spoke in their defence (as to why they should get  their Christmas presents) followed by another crew member speaking “against.” It was my role to speak in defence of Seb! The “outcome” was then put to a vote!


As if this wasn’t talented enough for Sophie, she has also produced the following video of our epic Leg 3. It is well worth a watch:

We are still trying to convince Sophie she needs to do Leg 6 across the North Pacific!!!

For Diabetes UK and the National Autistic Society see


and for UNICEF UK see


Please take a look. Thank You.



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