St Albans sailor in throes of race across Southern Ocean for charity

PUBLISHED: 20:00 21 December 2017

Shona on Dare to Lead

Shona on Dare to Lead

Archant

It’s neck and neck for a St Albans sailor racing across the Southern Ocean for charity.

Shona on Dare to LeadShona on Dare to Lead

London Colney’s Shona Davies is raising money for Mind in Mid Herts by helping to crew a 70-foot yacht on two legs of a 40,000 nautical mile dash across the southern hemisphere.

It is part of the six month Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - her boat is called Dare to Lead and is currently in fifth place.

She hopes to collect £20,000 by sailing 5,000 miles from western to eastern Australia and 7,000 miles from Australia to northern China via Vietnam.

The cause is close to Shona’s heart because she was helped by the charity during a mental breakdown in 2015.

Shona's boat, Dare to LeadShona's boat, Dare to Lead

Shona has had to deal with standing at a constant 45 degree angle, 75-knot winds, and only two hours after she set off in mid-October she collided face-first with a hank travelling at 15mph and smashed her knee on a rivet.

She said: “Living at 45 degrees is tough. Despite reading all the blogs and having been through clipper training, I was not prepared for the effect of prolonged time living at this angle. Being jolted out of sleep every time the boat goes airborne and slams back into the water. Cooking, walking, ablutions - who knew brushing your teeth would require every muscle in your body?”

She added: “I have run the full gamut of emotions from fear to frustration, joy to pain, tears to smiles - and then anger.”

She entered the race partly to better her mental health, but “when I was in the depths of my depression, I had to summon every ounce of energy I had just to get out of bed and have a shower. It took a whole day to steel myself for a conversation with someone. That is how I felt two days ago. That facing another day was going to be torture and would require every bit of strength I have”.

Shona's boat, Dare to LeadShona's boat, Dare to Lead

Then she remembered all the kindness around her - Lou helped to get her jacket off and tried to make her laugh, Paddy fetched water, Malcolm found ibuprofen, Sam offered spare fleeces and Ant loaned the inner liner of his sleeping bag so she could keep her sleeping bag dry: “I showed that I was in a weak spot and the help and love flowed in.”

Donate here, read Shona’s blog here and track her boat here.

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CountryPhile

A few years back I was fixing a shed in our garden and had enlisted the help of my young son. We were busy moving rotten pieces of wood from the side of the shed when suddenly I felt sharp stabbing pains in my lower legs. Before I had a chance to investigate my son started screaming in pain and it took a few more seconds to realize that we were trampling on a wasps’ nest!

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