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The Mini Fastnet, Turning 18 and World Food Programme Youth Ambassador

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Luckily for me it’s just started raining here in Dauarnenez, a little town on the coast of France. So instead of going for a jog I have a few minutes to sit down and write a blog. I landed in France last week and will be spending the next few weeks here training on a 6.5m mini called Skippy (see pic below), before taking part in the Mini Fastnet race later in the month. It’s great to be back in France and very nice to be back out on the water again!  

The Minis are such fun boat to sail and it’s great to be sailing with a fleet of them over here (see pic below). Although I might add that they are also hard work and the word sleep is pretty unheard of when it comes to racing them. I suspect that by the end of the race I’m going to be more than a little sore! I’m learning so much just by being around all the boats and seeing the different ways which things are done. Most of the sailors here are French but there’s also entries from all over Europe and one from the US. Each sailor has an interesting story about all the challenges they had to overcome to get here. It’s a great atmosphere to be part of.   

Also, it’s great that very few people over here know me by face. It’s lovely to be anonymous for a while. Actually, it also made for an amusing conversation the other day with one of the sailors here. We were chatting away about a few well known solo sailing girls and this guy mentioned ‘Isabelle Autissier, Sam Davies and that Australian girl.’ I sort of motioned toward myself not wanting to blow my own trumpet by going ‘hey that’s me,’ but it didn’t work. So I ended up having this strange conversation about myself until being rescued by someone who explained who I was! 

My Skipper Scotty was off competing in a solo race on the boat over the weekend, which also gave me the chance to do a little sight-seeing. This part of France is full of endless amazing old churches, lovely (but cold!) beaches, cute little towns and everything else from enchanted forests to castles. Oh, and great food from seafood to fresh berries to all sorts of amazing things in the local patisserie.

It’s been such a long time since I last blogged (sorry about that!), that I can hardly remember what has happened in the last few months - and that’s not because there’s not been a lot happening, more because there’s been far too much happening again! Well firstly, I was pretty thrilled to finish my school courses in Brisbane the day before my 18th birthday. Because I only had three months to get it done, there were a few short cuts taken, but the important thing is that I got the necessary marks for any further study I might want to do next year. My version of graduation was to head out to the chocolate shop at Southbank in Brisbane with the rest of my Maths class!

Of course, as soon as classes were over, the relentless schedule of domestic travel started again with all the usual events and commitments. It’s all such fun and exciting stuff, but sometimes I really do wish I had a little more time at home!

One particularly exciting thing that did happen if you haven’t already heard about it, was being named as Youth Representative for the UN’s World Food Programme (see pic below).  It is an amazing opportunity to be able help other young people in countries not so well off as us. To help them achieve their dreams by simply ensuring that they get the basic necessity of a meal every day. Seeing as I’ve been incredibly lucky to have had so many of my dreams come true, it’s great to be able to help other people reach for their dreams - something they can’t do if they’re putting all their energy into worrying about where their next meal will come from! So make sure you click on the “WeFeedback” icon on the front page of my website which is a great new tool that allows you to buy meals for the needy school children in the WFP. We will be making another exciting announcement on this in September, so keep an eye out for that.

The Sydney to Hobart project is coming along well. All of the crew are busy with their own sailing and projects. There’s always plenty of behind the scenes work going on from organising logistics, sourcing sponsors and who knows what else. We were also excited to announce our partnership with Deloitte, who are going to be helping us develop team and leadership skills with training and workshops amongst other things.  We will also be announcing our Major Sponsor soon too. So make sure you stop into the blog on the Another Challenge page for updates on the project. We’re just kicking off social media pages so jump on to:  and ‘Like’ the page to follow our updates there.   

Time for me to head off now, but if I survive I’ll be sure to let you know how the Mini Fastnet goes!


Pic 1: Out sailing on Skippy with my Skipper Scotty on a cold wet day in France.


Pic 2: Just some of the 80-strong fleet of Minis in France



Pic 3: WFP's Deputy Executive Director and Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd at Parliament House in Canberra, presenting me with my WFP jacket




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