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Ships ahoy!.. and off we go… sailing out of Monaco as night sets in on 09 September 2021

The last few days have literally whizzed by in a bit of a blur as we have been putting land life into temporary pause mode and fully transferring our family and lives onto our yacht, MAKARA, making her our home for the next (close to) two years for the adventure of a lifetime. And bringing almost 7 years of dreaming, imagining, and planning into full fruition. We are all feeling a bit nervy, excited, anxious, and impatient to get going… a whole big bag of mixed emotions as we head out into the dark of night and way outside our comfort zone, saying goodbye to the known and hello to unknown adventure.

We are not the most likely or experienced sailors and not the first and not the last to be doing something like this, but right now I am feeling pretty in awe to be part of the maybe 0.000001% of the 7 billion people currently on this planet to circumnavigate our beautiful planet by boat.

But like any big achievement in life, we never really get there completely on our own. There are the helping hands, the kind inspiring words, the good and clever advice, many failures, unexpected detours, serendipitous events and even the naysayers are part of the journey towards our ultimate success and achievement. And this is truly only the beginning of the learning curve, but right now we are celebrating this moment of massive progress.

We have so many people to thank and so much to be grateful for. Our families for their emotional support and never holding us back. Our two teenage children, who despite all the new challenges they have recently been faced with and had to overcome, for being dragged pillar to post, having to say goodbye to everything known in their lives, friends, and having to embrace the unknown, at a time in their lives when friends and peers are more important than family in many ways, but still trusting us enough to go with the flow. Their independent spirit and bravery have been quite humbling, and I am a very proud mamma, despite being the bane of their lives.

My amazing husband deserves a special mention as he continues to work tirelessly to make this dream a reality and designing life, work, and business to embrace this opportunity and sailing reality. The initial lockdowns during the Covid pandemic have been a big eye opener to realising that business and life could be designed differently and even better. And I am sure there will be a very funny and frustrating moment of him hanging off the back of the boat as we sail into the Atlantic Ocean and him trying to get a signal to get some final important email sent, but that is all part of this journey and his journey and is truly a first world problem to have.

Our wonderful friends old and new, who have been cheering us on since the start of this far-flung idea…we can’t thank you enough, and special mention to our dear friends Audrey and Paul, who themselves took part in the very first OWR 9 years ago, who were instrumental in keeping us going, excited, who are always full of helpful advice and who are always ready for a surprise festivity and Irish singsong before we left Southampton, and who do killer Margaritas and G&Ts, but besides all the fun and laughter gives us deep heartfelt support when we hit the inevitable low points and obstacles. You shine bright in our lives, thank you.

I would love to also mention our new Monaco community of friends of likeminded no-limits individuals that have welcomed us with open arms, especially Kate and Leo, who have made our country move and transition to making this mini country our new land-based home, a much happier and easier experience. We can’t thank you enough and very much look forward to sharing this epic OWR sailing adventure alongside your fun family of four.

Our incredible pocket rocket friend and all round Wonder Woman extraordinaire Verity, who besides everything else she does for us, solo drove all the way from the UK just a few days ago, purely to deliver us a new boat oven, since the one on MAKARA is at the end of its life, and with Covid and Brexit delays, was the only conceivable way we could get it onboard before setting sail… Talk about Operation Roast Dinner, but that’s a story for another day. Honestly, we could not have done this without her endless energy, incredible ‘can do attitude’ and unwavering support every single day. She honestly deserves a medal… and several spa days!

The amazing Julie from FareGos Home Education Group in the UK, who gently held and guided my hand to figure out the best way to keep our two teenagers on track with their GCSE and A-level education while we sail around the world, and the small team of amazing tutors, we are working closely with to support the kids along the way with their independent learning.

And then there are our full-time boat crew since March, Nick, and Anna, who are fast becoming part of our family and who are lightening the load, filling in for our lack of sailing expertise and experience while we learn.

Last but not at all least, Oyster Sailing Yachts and particularly the Oyster World Rally team, Paul, Allie, Millie, Rachel and Eddie Google who have been putting together the adventure of a lifetime on our glorious blue water Oyster sailing yacht. All the very many hours and energy you have all put in and your contagious spirit of ‘can do’ and ‘let’s figure it out’. Thank you and incredibly grateful for what you have created.

So now as we slowly leave Fontvieille Marina in the semi dark, while our lovely friend Julie, her daughter Sophie, and their bouncy spaniel called Amber wave us off from shore, along with our Italian yacht neighbours, Elisa and Alfreddo from the bow of their yacht ‘LOVELi’ with friendly encouraging shouts of ‘In bocca lupo!’ (And promises that one day soon they will themselves fulfil their own dream of sailing wild and free), and phone messages from friends and family from across the world wishing us well and safe in this special moment as we embark on what is still a total unknown…

I am struck with this thought… that life will NEVER be the same again... Ships ahoy!

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