Leg 3, Day 12 – Kylie Minogue OBE

Laura Penhaul By

Day 12 – Kylie Minogue OBE

Who would have thought, when I was 5 years old and watching one of the most watched Australian TV episodes worldwide, Charleen (Kylie) marrying Scott (Jason Donovan) in Neighbours, that 27 years later I would actually get to meet Kylie and better yet she would be supporting our expedition. Having grown up with Kylie as a worldwide icon for her music and acting, it was devastating to hear of her diagnosis of Breast Cancer in 2005 whilst she was on tour. Having to go through the trauma of battling breast cancer is hard enough for anyone, but add in the pressure of it being global news and not being able to keep it private. After undergoing surgery, Kylie endured 8 months of intensive radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Once she had returned to fitness (which is no small feat), she resumed her tour under the title of Showgirl: The Homecoming Tour.

When we sat as a team with our advisory board and they asked us who would be our dream patron for the row, there was no doubt that Kylie epitomised everything we stood for. Kylie shares in our values of S.P.I.R.I.T having shown outstanding Strength in her fight against breast cancer, Perseverance to return to her outstanding form as a singer, Integrity with her openness and honesty of sharing her story with the world, Resilience shown by bouncing back on tour, Inspiration that she has created globally to all those women, particularly younger women, going through the same experiences, Trust in her loyal fans and hopefully her close friends and family that no doubt supported her throughout.

Although Kylie was placed at the top of the list, as far as 3 of us were concerned, this was a daydream bubble of ever having the chance of getting Kylie’s support. However, I say 3 because for 1 of us (Miss Cohen), dreaming big and going after it was in her belief system and without a shadow of doubt, Nats truly believed she was going to get in touch with Kylie. Now there may be an assumption that we had a personal connection to Kylie to get introduced, but there wasn’t at all, just Nats shear perseverance at not giving up to find her PA and then not giving up until she got an answer. When Nat told us Kylie’s PA had been in touch and Kylie was keen to support, we were excited but to be honest we thought that it would be all chat and no substance. As the conversations continued and then a date was booked to meet Kylie, our cynicism still believed that we would get dropped at the last minute as obviously Kylie’s time is so precious. It wasn’t until we were in the hotel apartment waiting to meet her, that it finally sunk in, ‘we’re actually about to meet Kylie!’.


Kylie was certainly a breath of fresh air. She is even more stunning in person and just a beautiful, warm personality to match. We were overwhelmed and humbled to have her support and the opportunity to talk with her in person about our expedition, why we’re doing it and why breast cancer means so much to us.

There has been plenty of times aboard Doris that ‘I should be so lucky’ or ‘locomotion’ has been played out on the deck speakers and we’ve either had a sing along or got up and attempted to dance amongst the bouncing waves!

We thank Kylie for being part of our journey, for helping to spread the word and for being an inspiration to thousands of young breast cancer sufferers. We look forward to arriving into her homeland of Cairns Australia in the coming weeks!

Prevailing winds have picked up again and today’s top speed on a wave was 5.7k for Ems and I. Simon TY mentioned about our snack packs – they are going down a treat, today I had the very special Oreos which were brought out to Samoa thanks to Bernard Van Vuuren (Lizanne’s brother). On the wildlife front it has been pretty slim for poor old Meg, until yesterday! Em and I were on the oars, saw a shadow in the waves so shouted to Meg, just as she came out this huge Marlin jumped twice clean out of the water! It was pretty impressive and I think has made up for the lack of whales so far.



  1. Jim Andrews says:

    You ladies are flying! I cannot believe that this fantastic progress continues unabated, long may it continue. To have such a huge superstar associated with your cause, as Kylie is fantastic. Ambassadors such as Sir Ranulph Fiennes and Sir Steve Redgrave, just proves the pulling power of you fabulous ladies! Gosh look at all the puns in there. 🙂
    I hope moral on board the nation’s favourite rowing boat remains high? You have certainly been making my 2015 a better year. Following you has not quite, become an obsession but you are a big part of my everyday. To my friends and family you are referred to as Jim’s girls. Do not be afraid. I make no claim on you. I am very proud to be mentioned in the same breath and to have received a “thank you” from your family, for merely waffling on in response to your blogs, was unexpected but extremely heartwarming. You have picked a particularly good time to be away from Europe because good news is very rare. I hope by the time you head home that the World has become a better place.
    Thank you again for sharing this experience with us and allowing us on our virtual Doris with you. You continue to impress with your courage and endurance, Kylie must be very proud and glad to be associated with you. Stay safe XX

  2. Simon TY says:

    I make that 530 nm for that last update, almost a quarter of the way. Slow down Meg or you will feel that you have not had yr fair share.

    Why is Jim worried about Morals on board. I assume he meant morale !! Anyhow, keep flying, be safe


  3. Babs says:

    Once again a great blog, and this just shows what you girls are trying to achieve for your chosen charities. It seems so long ago when you rowed out under the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco in April in the middle of the night. Now over 7 months on, you are all still rowing and keeping so positive. What you have all been through, especially in the last leg , is nothing short of amazing. Now it seems that the tables are turning and you are able to keep a good speed towards Cairns. Just keep it up, and can’t wait to see you row into that Marina in Cairns and have long overdue hugs from your families. Stay safe we are so proud xxx

  4. 5.7 on the crest of a wave…..must have felt awesome! Let’s hope there’s plenty of them to come to push you to the finishing line and perhaps you will be celebrating New Years Eve on shore with one mega party for you all……that’s something for you to think about!

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