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  • Sophie Dingwall

Leg 1 - Eat, Sleep, Helm, Repeat

What's it like living on a boat with 14 women?

If you’re not familiar with life on a boat offshore, I’m going to try and give you an idea…

These are the awesome 13 women I got to spend the 1st leg with, they all have unique stories and I'm sure after this trip they will continue to influence many others!


Firstly, we run a watch system. This basically means being woken up in the middle of the night (usually abruptly) to get dressed and see how many layers are physically possible to put on under your still wet foul weather gear. Followed by scrabbling your way up on deck to sit in the rain... for hours.

Now, there is reason for this. We have to have a few people in charge of sailing the boat the whole time. So, we run a system of 3 hours on, 6 hours off. Shift work really!

I am not a morning person, never have been, never will be.

But honestly, it’s not all bad. Morning watch, my favourite! 6am start and I get to watch the sun come up, and full anticipation for how the new day will pan out. Ann one of our crew members had woken me up by softly stroking my head and asking me if I want tea? (Ann, you can wake me up any day!) I swear one time, someone came in and just jabbed me in the ribs twice and walked off!

Despite the consistent wind and raging waves, all seems peaceful and quiet as the sun rises over the horizon. Plodding along (in sometimes the right direction) we continue to make haste for the Azores.


“Do you think they have chicken on that ship?”

This was one of the conversation starters with my watch team. Staring into the distance, a large container ship is passing. From there on we talked about all the foods we were missing and I worried for a moment we may lose Katrine to she ship as she shouted in desperation across the water “come back, is their meat on there?” (FYI - It’s a veggie boat)

Cooking for 14 is no small task, but it's always delivered. I know not the time or day, but for sure, I know when is dinner!

These badass women, mostly with little or no experience on a boat before and barely recovered from seasickness cooked us an awesome meal.


Never again in those conditions do I think I will get a crew that pulls off a meal like that!


Wash doesn’t make it to the title of this, as frankly it doesn’t happen very often. Whereas helming (that's steering the boat for you land folk) well, that happened an awful lot, so much so I think my shoulders are now a few inches closer to my ears from holding the big wheel.

Standing naked in warrior pose, I brace myself. One hand scrubbing frantically with a shampoo bar and the other against the door. The soap smells amazing but I can’t relax just yet, this takes serious concentration. The boat is trying to throw me around this small box, containing only a toilet, sink and extendable tap for a shower and ending up on the floor is not an option. It’s hard to say on what day I had my first shower, as days merged into one but being generous, I would take a guess at day 5...?

A new woman. Clean. Salt free. Hair brushed. Ready for anything!

Or so I thought…

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