London Colney woman to embark on sailing challenge across Australia and China
PUBLISHED: 06:00 09 October 2016
After years of depression culminated in a devastating breakdown, workaholic Shona Davies resolved to follow her heart and embark on a exhilarating sailing challenge as part of her healing process.
Determined to take charge of her life, she signed up to crew the 2017-18 Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, an endurance test which will push her to the very limit while navigating some of the most dangerous seas on Earth.
She will be joining two legs of the race, travelling 5,000 miles from Western to Eastern Australia, and then a further 7,000 miles from Australia to Northern China via Vietnam.
Having pumped in her savings of £20,000 to cover her kit, training and insurance, she is now aiming to raise a similar sum to cover her expenses and support the mental health charity MIND, wanting to thank them for the support they gave her during her depression with a donation of £10,000.
London Colney resident Shona, 38, who is the strategic initiatives director for an international medical website, explained why she is taking part in the race: “I want to grab life by the scruff of its neck and squeeze out every last drop of adventure.
“I have suffered with depression since my early teens, but didn’t really stop me from handling my day-to-day existence for very long. Then in December of last year, I had a complete and utter meltdown. Not just the crushing, numbing nothingness of depression but also the dizzying horror of panic attacks too. It was, hands down, the deepest and darkest period of my life thus far. I felt like my life was over when in fact, it signalled the beginning of something else and my Clipper journey is part of me taking charge and healing myself.
“I’ve chosen MIND as my charity partner because I want to ensure they can support others who’ve had to face their own demons. Too many people with mental health issues do not have the support I’ve been given by my friends, family, coworkers and healthcare providers. All of the people I know and love rallied from all corners of the globe and threw their support into helping me to heal. The only reason I’m able to do this race is down to them and I thank them from the bottom of my heart. They have helped me to rediscover parts of me that I’ll need in this race.”
Although dates have yet to be confirmed, she expects to be sailing from November 2017 until February the next year, but if she can fund more legs, she will continue onboard.
“I am looking forward to connecting back with something I love. Sailing gives me both a sense of adventure and a channel to block out everything except the challenge in front of me.”
The challenge involves 21 people crammed into a 70ft yacht with no showers for weeks at a time, coupled with periods of intense hard work and a lack of sleep, but also offers great camaraderie and an experience she will never forget.
Shona’s limited sailing background will be supplemented by four weeks of intense training which needs to be useful for all levels and abilities of sailor, as some people who join the race have never even set foot on a boat before, whereas others are masters of ocean sailing.
It includes everything from tying knots and hoisting sails to cooking in a tiny galley kitchen and the procedures for man overboard. Sea survival and coping with life onboard the boat are also crucial parts of the preparation.
Over the next year Shona will be organising a range of fundraising events including pub quizzes, moveable feasts, wine tastings, appearances at festivals and markets and a couple of auction events which are not to be missed! The Herts Advertiser has agreed to act as her official media partner so we will be providing full details of any events, and of course covering her time at sea when she eventually begins the race next year.
For more information, visit Shona’s website at www.shonadavies.com/, see her Facebook page www.facebook.com/clipper17/ or her JustGiving crowdfunding page at www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/shona-davies-Clipper1718