Leg 3, Day 75 – Land ahoy!

Laura Penhaul By

Day 75 – Land ahoy!

This is it. This is what I’ve dreamed of since getting involved in this project 4 years ago, this is what has kept me going through the times of question, just one more night and after 9 months of being at sea, we get to step onto dry land into our families’ arms. The moment that has played over and over in my head and not a day on the ocean has gone by without me thinking about this time. This moment. There have been tears and laughter, a mix of emotions I never thought I’d feel. Knowing that on this 4 year journey we have overcome having 3 restarts at the project (naively had hoped to start the row in 2013, then 2014 and finally it came to fruition in 2015). We have bounced back after team losses, for 2 years spent weekly trips from London to Christchurch during the boat build, researched and were fortunate to get the best equipment sponsors, spent hours upon hours researching into companies that aligned with our row, put pitch documents together, went to meetings and took the knock backs when it wasn’t right for their company, persisted to resource the funds and apply for various grants. For three years doing a once a month trip down the M4 to visit our sport psych (who I say has been invaluable!), reviews with our strength & conditioning coach Alex for programme updates, otherwise training daily and on the weights 4 times a week, whilst body composition and research on ourselves carried out with GSK Human Performance Lab. The list is endless but these are just a few things to highlight what was fitted in around work and occasionally (V. occasionally!) attempting to socialise before I forgot how!


There is so much to reflect upon what has been learnt from this row and I’m sure over the coming months post row, more and more will surface, but here are a just a few that stand out to me…

– perseverance: this row has taught me and proved to me, that if you believe whole heartedly in your vision, then you can make it happen. The journey will be up and down with unexpected twists and turns, but roll with the waves and take it stroke by stroke, because eventually you will arrive at where your dreams come true and when you do, the more challenges you’ve faced, the more you appreciate the achievement to get there.

– vulnerability: having previously thought that showing emotions was a sign of weakness, how wrong could I be. Exposing my true self to those around me, allowing myself to be open and honest in what emotions I feel whether it be ecstatically happy or crying like a baby, has been so uplifting and one of the biggest learning curves from this row. When you hold yourself back and don’t express how you feel, it eats you up inside and your mind convinces itself that the problem is so much bigger than what it really is. By sharing it, by letting it out in the open means there’s nothing left to hide, there’s no emotional baggage you need to protect and those around you become your voice of reason and they get to know the real you.

– challenge your thoughts : if you only ever listen to the voice inside your head, you believe that that voice is a voice of reason and of fact. Well Keith has taught me a number of psych things but one most valuable, is to challenge those thoughts. Create another character in your head that makes you stop and step back before lunging forwards into a reactive or negative head space. I have two monkeys in my head and they often quarrel with differing opinions, but by the time they’ve figured it out, it’s given me time to pause and reflect to hopefully come to a diplomatic conclusion.

– laughter: approaching a situation which may be listed as one of your fears, such as big waves at night time, or going through something which is not pleasant like changing in and out of wet and cold weather gear, if you can laugh, joke or make light of the situation then suddenly the situation becomes so much easier and enjoyable to take on.

– Cracknell v Fogle (an earlier blog): if you’re a Fogle then appreciate and recognise the value in some Cracknell influence to get the job done, if you’re a Cracknell, then appreciate the impact some Fogle can have to make you look up every once in while and appreciate your surroundings and what you’re achieving.

– Positivity: Many people may assume that because our blogs are mainly positive, that we are either hiding or misleading the truth, but we honestly are not. Every blog is a true account of what is happening or how we are feeling etc. the difference is that we are a team that deals with things with a positive outlook and will tend to find the humour in things rather than the negative. But more importantly than that, we collectively understand that we chose to be here, we chose to challenge ourselves, so in no way do we believe that what we have achieved outweighs the challenges that people experience in day to day life.

We recognise that we are a team of fit, healthy females that are fortunate to not have endured any of the million and one things this world can throw at you, whether that’s the fight against cancer, the new life you have to develop after losing a limb, facing financial difficulties, overcoming family issues etc., the list is endless. But if we can take away from this the challenge we set ourselves and overcame, then hopefully in some small way we hope it empower others to tackle their own Pacifics, no matter how big or small.

Just one more sleep! Planned arrival is Sunday PM for us (AM for UK). As ever, the ocean is not allowing us to cruise in at good speed, instead she’s stuck in a negative current once again and so since late last night we have been travelling at a speedy 1k. We still have 40nm to go and need to do them as fast as we possibly can to get in on time.
We got to see Tony and Sarah Moshman! So flipping exciting as we haven’t seen them since Samoa and obviously their arrival signifies how close we are to the finish. Sarah wanted to capture some footage of us out at sea and stayed for a couple of hours whilst Tone scrutinised poor old Doris’ barnacles (the ones I can’t reach because of the jellyfish!).
Megs finally got to see a pod of a mink/ small whales and it was beautiful to see her reaction. So glad she has had the full experience of wildlife and journey through leg 3.

Sarah, our documentary director and producer, and us earlier today!

Sarah, our documentary director and producer, and us earlier today!



  1. Jean Burnham says:

    I’m over excited here in grey England cannot imagine what the other parents in Cairns feel like. Enjoy the Barrier Reef a magical natural phenomena. Just one more sleep to prepare yourself for the big wide world. Lots of hugs and tears ahead I am sure. What a fantastic team, Laura,Emma,Nat,Lizanne,Meg and Izzyxxxxxx and DORIS

  2. Esther B says:

    Eeeeeek!!!!! When we wake up tomorrow you will be there, can’t wait to see your arrival! Amazing xxxx

  3. I have followed this blog since San Francisco, coincidently as I began a new job. My job has been remarkably easy, while the journey of Doris & the crew has been fought with great difficulties.
    Thank you for sharing your adventures with your exciting blogs and photographs.

  4. Andy P says:

    For many many months now you ladies have inspired us with your courage, determination, sheer bloody mindedness and most of all positivity. Every day I have read your blogs and enjoyed the many wonders you have shared with us.
    Enjoy every last stroke of the oar as you finally achieve this amazing goal and thank you for carrying many of us along with you. X

  5. Feel so very excited for all of you involved in this amazing journey . Not long for you now ,can only begin to imagine your emotions. It’s been a privilege to follow you and I shall truly miss your blogs. Will look forward to the documentary & book ,hopefully ? It would be lovely to meet up with you Laura when you are in Cornwall and have time , perhaps at Roy and Liz’s one day. Love to you all xx

  6. pat mitchell says:

    I have followed you since you started the journey. Donated a few miles. So proud of all of you. You all did fantastic. I always had faith in you girls. Always knew you would be successful. Living vicariously as I am old and worn out. Enjoy the great.celebration.

  7. Simon TY says:

    All of you, I am so so thrilled for you. I have worried about the seas, about the currents, waves bigger than I can imagine, and that one of you might jump overboard, mutiny or kill a comrade.

    Laura, four years of anticipation, four years of pushing for yr dream, and all you, since April waiting for the last few miles, the last sunset, the last sunrise.

    Enjoy yr lazy day. Appreciate what you have achieved and stand tall ( if you can after nine months at sea)


  8. Kim says:

    So excited for you all! it;s such an incredible achievement and so lovely to hear more open blogs about a wonderful journey. Enjoy the last few hours of the row and the smiles and treats that await you all!

  9. I’m sad to see it all come to an end but I’m looking forward to seeing the film and book(?).

    A Herculean effort from you all.

  10. So thrilled for you Laura………you deserve it……your dream about to be fulfilled.

    A very special time ahead for you all……..enjoy everything about it.

    And hope to see you in Cornwall soon.

  11. Mike S. says:

    Apologies to the rest but Laura ‘ You’re one of own Laura Penhaul you’re one of own ‘ that’s a football song if you don’t recognise it – but then again not entirely accurate as we’re from Devon, but we have Sir francis Drake & now Cornwall has it’s own famous mariner. Before you set sail aboard Doris I read Roz Savage’s account of her pacific crossing & the detailed description of her thoughts & emotions – a lot of her work I’m afraid was way above my intelligence & difficult reading not like your blogs that have been very interesting & honest. I thought with sleep deprivation & knackered bodies you girls would have looked at blogging as a chore, but that was obviously further from the truth. Can’t wait to read the book.

  12. TaniaB says:

    Wow! So close now, thank you for sharing your journey. I’ve loved following you from the safety of the sofa. Inspired and encouraged me, I’m sure I’m not alone in this. Enjoy and savour the remaining time x

  13. Bill Laupan says:

    I have been following your journey since San Francisco and will miss watching your progress ( but will get a lot more done as I am not urging a boat icon across the screen!).

    Congratulations on an epic achievement and keep your fans posted as you figure out what is going to be your next Pacific to Cross.

    Bill Laupan
    Ballwin, Missouri

  14. Laura, how wonderful to read this blog at last, we have read all of them, brilliant and will miss them.
    We know how your mum & dad must be feeling at this moment. Much admiration to you and all the girls, what an adventure. Enjoy the next few days, spoil yourselves, you all deserve it! x

  15. Will Snow says:

    Hi Emma and the girls
    You have done an awesome job. What you have achieved is amazing and it makes our trek up Kilimanjaro with Neil and Leona look like a stroll in the park!
    Well done for both the journey itself and the money you have raised for such great causes. Enjoy some well-earned sleep.
    Will and Sue Snow X

  16. mark says:

    well done ladies, a nice glass of wine and/or a cold ice lolly in cairns , enjoy your rest youve earnt it

  17. Barney says:

    Very well done to all 6 girls and to all support team. Tremendous achievement all round and superb entertainment for us at home. Enjoy the applause and hope you all settle back into your lives without too much regret at leaving a part of your lives you can never repeat. Value that friendship you have had for ever and remember that success was only guaranteed by the TEAM. There is no I in team as one of you wrote many blogs ago. Thanks for 9 months of captivating excitement and I shall be doubling my original donation on the strength of having enjoyed at least double value for my entry ticket!!! Hope others may follow me in that. Cheers – Barney

  18. Meg, your mum must be so proud and overjoyed to see you! Well done! Fran (a colleague of Sally) xx

  19. sarah lee says:

    Totally incredible. I have read your daily blogs in awe and am looking forward to the movie. An amazing feat

  20. Our admiration knows no bounds!!!!! Laura, & all your amazing team, are simply the best! Some may say, ‘Well others have done some amazing sea journeys’, but never have they been the FIRST to complete this particular voyage in the way that you all have. Making history is very very special. All of you bathe in that glory, and welcome home to dry land. Haste ye back to Cornwall!!
    Our love to you all,
    Carol & James

  21. Laura, what a wonderful blog and what an incredible achievement to have put this trip together and achieved it in such style and with such an amazing team. I can only imagine the wealth of emotions that will accompany the end of this trip and the difficult process of readjusting to “normal life” – whatever that might be! I suspect that nothing will ever feel quite the same again. The Team’s daily writings have in themselves been inspirational, insightful and wonderfully educational as well as a fantastic record of an incredible journey. Enjoy the fame and the acclaim as they are richly deserved and I shall look forward to seeing the film! Enjoy a comfortable bed and shower and a nice juicy steak! x

  22. Jim Andrews says:

    Great blog Laura and probably the last from Doris, I am sad that it is over but elated that you are all safe and that you have conquered this fantastic voyage. Claw hands and sore bums will soon be distant memories and the end of that awful shift pattern you have endured for so long, make sure you don’t resort to habit when you feel the need and see a bucket, could be embarrassing. Your families will be so relieved to have their girls home, safe and sound. I hope you recover quickly from the various effects of this monumental strain on your bodies and minds. Recovery is your next Pacific. Well done sounds so underwhelming but so does anything else, in comparison to your achievement. Stay safe. XX

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