A team unites!!

x Just a quick thank you x

Well….what can we say…

An amazing day surrounded by wonderful people, great energy, cocktails, raffle prizes, sunshine and laughter!

A HUGE thank  you to everyone that came to share a momentous moment when the 6 Coxless Crew were together for the FIRST TIME ever!! Doris was also there in person to allow everyone an opportunity to meet her and see our home.
Interesting how some people commented that she was so much smaller than they thought she would be and others said she was bigger!?!

Pink ladies

There were welcome drinks by the wonderful Albion Racing Club a great hog roast lunch outside on the balcony and plenty of friends, family and supporters.


lunch time!

Super exciting to finally meet Jim Andrews and Simon TY who, as you all know, commented on our blogs every day whilst we were out on the ocean showing us so much invaluable support.
We love the way they instantly felt like old friends on our first face to face meeting. Thank you once again for all the encouragement and for keeping us rowing…
(JG and Barney you were missed but were there in spirit!)

We did a brief chat about some of our highlights and lowlights and then opened the floor up to a Q&A. Incredible to have the ever fabulous Sarah Osborne and Ceri from Breast Cancer Care there and Kate McKeand from Walking With The Wounded representing our charities and helping the event run smoothly. A big thank you!

the room

Pink ladies and family

We could not have done this without you ALL.
Old friend and new friends. It’s all about a team united and that is what Sunday’s event was all about.
A wonderful sense of community and connection.

A sincere THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts for all your endless support, encouragement and patience.

Thanks to all the photographers especially Carlos and more photos to come soon.
We’re off to Cornwall this weekend…so we’ll keep you all updated on the shenanigans!! x





Another week of fundraising goes by for Coxless Crew…

Its been a busy week for all of us since Laura’s blog about our trip to the Palace. Last week I was up in the New Forest at Forres Sandle Manor School presenting to them about our journey. I presented to the Prep School, but then went down into Pre-prep which was a new experience talking to ages 4 – 7. They were particularly interested in whether or not I had seen crabs and lobsters whilst out at sea! Really looking forward to taking part in their sponsored walk on 21st June across the New Forest in aid of our charities. I then also spent Friday evening at the Royal Temple Yacht Club in Ramsgate. It was so awesome talking to lots of sailors who have also been in big waves and out at sea, but also people who have used some of the equipment that we used on Doris. A massive thanks to them for digging into their pockets and also raising funds for us.

Laura has been out in Switzerland for the Swiss National Championships for Wheelchair Racing. It is where all of the top Internationals are competing, and also the last time that they are all together before Rio!

Lizanne has been planning her trip over to the UK, which is just so exciting that we will finally for the first time all be together in the same place but more importantly all at the same time! We are really hoping to get lots of team things organised for when she is over, so Lizanne has been busy planning this too!

Izz and Ems went to Kenwick Mountain Festival last weekend. They were asked if they had ever tried rehydrated food. When Ems answered that she had eaten it for a whole 9 months, the guy nearly ate his hat – don’t think that he had had that response before! Ems was also with the Rotary Club in Marlow again, as last night they donated another £1000 to our charities!

Last but not least, Nats has some very exciting news! She has joined forces with New Level Results and Best Year Yet (The results focused and goal setting program that the Team used to help us get to the start line, and also across the pacific). She will be doing individual and team coaching to help others reach their own full potential and cross their own pacific.

We are all collectively making lots of plans for our event on 26th June. If you haven’t bought your tickets yet, don’t wait, they are being bought up rather fast, and we would hate you to miss out. Please do invite anyone that you know that followed our journey and would love to meet Doris! You can buy them from the link below!


Lots of Love




Buckingham Palace and our EVENT!

Laura PenhaulBy


It’s been a whirlwind of a week that I know not many can say, started with an invite to Buckingham Palace. Thanks to the D of E Awards who were celebrating their 60th Anniversary, they had kindly invited us as a team to be part of a select few that were presenters on the day. There were approximately 1,000 students who had successfully completed their Gold Duke of Edinburgh Awards and all presenters were assigned a group of about 50 students each.


We were fortunate enough to spend some time with the Duke himself who shared a joke or two with us and showed a good interest in the row, I think the conversation started with ‘Well you all look quite normal for a crazy bunch!’. He was intrigued to see Doris after Meg invited him over to meet her, which I’m sure didn’t help his timing schedule, but we were honoured to introduce him to her and to share a giggle or two along the way.


Whilst there we got to meet a few of the other presenters who were so friendly and supportive of the row, some of those being; Sally Gunnell (my childhood hero), above Charley Boorman who isn’t normally in a chair but has had a recent motorbike accident and has injured his leg, then below, the girls got to meet Paralympic and World Record holder Hannah Cockroft who is one of the athletes I work with and will be hopefully heading to Rio in the Summer.


It was a beautiful day but it was tainted by the fact that we weren’t there as a full team with Lizanne. We did however call Lizanne whilst we were all together and gave her a run down of the day, but it goes without saying that she was missed. That being said, we are SUPER excited to announce, that Lizanne will be making it over to the UK at the end of June!! We seriously can’t wait to be together as a full team for the first time EVER!! Even pre row we had to work remotely with Lizanne and had only met during team selection when there were other girls involved, so it’ll be sooooo great to have all of us together.


Here is the link to the ticket page where you can book to come and see us as a team and meet Doris for her solo visit to London on 26th June 2016. You’ll find there are 2 options, 1 for attending including a welcome drink and another option which includes a bite to eat. For those of you that have supported us throughout, we would love to see you and thank you in person for all the encouragement and motivation you gave us.





Event date, update and winner of competition!


What a beautiful week. It was so good to see the sun shining and as much as we thought we would never want to see the sun again after our relentless exposure on the boat…it was actually great to feel the heat again and to see everyone’s moods lifted. It’s amazing what a blue sky does to people.


Sunday June 26th is the day that we have set for our friends, family and followers event.

This will be an informal celebratory daytime get together that will give us all the opportunity to show photos, answer questions and meet as many people as possible that followed us and showed us so much support during the journey.
Lizanne is coming over from South Africa and we will be together as a team for the first time! It’s going to be a real highlight of the year for all of us.

There will be more information to follow, but for now…please save the date.

It’s been all go for the team.

Izzy and Laura had a good catch up with Sarah Moshman to discuss the production of the documentary and obviously we are all very excited to see how our story of the journey will be told. We’re hoping for a release date of beginning of 2017.

Skype with Sarah

Natalia was asked to partake in a video Blab (live web-cast) with Best Year Yet to talk about how the program helped us as a team create a successful framework with a clear focus and to set goals and prepare for getting to the start line of the row as well as the actual expedition. It was great to hear other stories about how Best Year Yet has been used with younger ages and basketball where the program is being set up to help teams achieve sports goals while also maintaining balance with their personal values and the other roles they play in their lives.

Best Year Yet Blab

Meg headed off to do a schools talk in Broadstairs. The school has done a huge amount of fundraising for us and it’s also where Meg’s aunty Linda and Elaina work for Dolphin swim school – who swam the length of the Pacific in lengths for us back in September 2015.

Meg School

Ems did a talk at Godolphin and Laytmer School and presented medals to their J16 fours crew who won at the national schools head race. They’ve also fundraised for us two years in a row in their ‘challenge your limits’ week.

A hearty thank you to everyone at the schools for their invaluable support, hard work and dedication.

LP headed to Crewsaver as they have been reviewing our lifejackets. Using them during our 9-month odyssey was the perfect test of their endurance. They worked wonderfully for us, being small, comfortable and extremely effective.


We are happy to announce the winner of our Crewsaver life jacket competition.


If you can email us your contact details (info@coxlesscrew.com) , then we can get the life jacket sent out to you.

In other news…Doris has been cleaned in preparation for her big trip to Buckingham Palace next week – which is very exciting. So we’ll update you on that next time!


Update on the week and COMPETITION information!


Time continues to fly by, and I can’t believe it’s May already! I went back and read the blog post that was posted exactly a year ago. I’ve copied the link below:



I cannot believe that was A YEAR AGO! Awaiting my turn on the boat and following the girls progress with hawk eyes the nerves had started to set in! Reading about the food even made me miss it! Might have to order a cheeky packet of Beef and Potato hotpot… dehydrated style!


Anyway… here’s what we have all been up to over the last week…

Laura did a talk at a prize giving event at Redruth Schools, Megs and Ems did a school talk in Folkestone last week to four different year groups and Meg has been attending the amazing Fierce Grace yoga sessions. This has been such an incredible tool for getting our bodies back in shape after spending months at sea. For more info you can visit www.fiercegrace.com

Ems went down to see Doris last week to do a bit of cleaning. Can only imagine being back on Doris what memories and emotions came flooding back! She also did another great school talk at Howell’s School in Llandaff sports awards.


For myself (Lizanne), Nat and Izzy work got the better of us this week, so we stuck to email admin instead.


Now for the most exciting news… We have been running a competition this week, and you have until TOMORROW (6th May 2016) 12PM UK time / 1PM SA time to enter! Simply head over to our Instagram page and repost this picture below and tag @coxless_crew to stand a chance to win this brilliant Crewsaver Life Jacket.

It is exactly like the ones that kept us safe on the Pacific.

You can also text DORIS to 70300 to donate 3 pounds to our charities.


Lizanne x




A week in the life……


Today’s blog is a (slightly late) round up of what the team got up to last week.  As ever, it was a busy week all round (except for me – I was on holiday!) and this is just a small taster of what we were up to…..

Megs gave a school talk as well as an after dinner talk at the Mayor of Broadstairs’ Spring Ball where the after dinner auction raised a whopping £1000+ for our charities, Breast Cancer Care and Walking With The Wounded.


Natalia headed to Character World to speak to the staff about strength and diversity within a team and positive mindset.  She said it was great to be presenting in their showroom and with some employees sitting on single beds – they got a very real sense of the size of our cabin space on Doris!

Character World

Ems went to the Dame Kelly Homes Trust team days (see her blog on this) and spoke at St Pirans School about the row and our values of SPIRIT.  She was also liaising with the team behind the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme, who have kindly invited us to Buckingham Palace on 16 May to present Gold Duke of Edinburgh Awards.  We’re really honoured to be asked and can’t wait to attend what will be a great event.

Over in South Africa, Lizanne spoke to the team at Tatis.  She enjoyed sharing stories of our journey with a group of people who were such great supporters and followers of our row while we were on the water.

This weekend a highlight for Laura was working hard supporting her athletes and friends at the London marathon.

For me, it was less work / Coxless Crew and more skiing, as I headed to the mountains of the Lyngen Alps in North Norway for a week of ski touring.  Lyngen is incredibly beautiful, and climbing up from the sea to summits and then skiing back down to the beach for a swim in the Fjords is an experience I will definitely never forget.





The power of music…

Prince’s death this week has had a huge impact on many people that we know.

His music has been playing on radio stations, TV programs, mobile phones, ipods and laptops countrywide. I had a personal hour-long Prince tribute over the weekend and we played a couple of his albums on the boat when we were out on the ocean. There are a few songs in particular (I wanna be your lover, 1999 and Kiss) that instantly transport me back to the 90’s, a time of no responsibilities, carefree fun with friends at school, my first boyfriend and days of dancing!


The power of music has always amazed me and its power during the row was invaluable. Amongst many other performance enhancing strategy techniques that we used, music was one of the most effective tools.

We used it to shift our mind quickly from one mindset to another. Waking up at 3am and knowing we had to get up and out on the oars to row yet again or unwinding after an adrenalin filled shift and calming the mind ready to sleep.

Music is a wonderful motivator – we all had our personal power songs that we used to help us through times of monotony, discomfort and frustration on the Pacific. Everyone loves a good power mix to workout to at the gym or on a run.

Music is an effective distracter – It was a great way to pass a 2-hour row shift

Music is one of the best memory joggers – I love how memories always come flooding back when you hear a song or the way you can remember lyrics to a song even if you haven’t heard it for 15 years!

Music inspires emotion – I think most people have been overcome with great happiness and joy, sadness or reflection when listening to certain music.

It moves you. It penetrates deep into your soul and stirs emotion.

Music makes you move – A great tune will make you tap your feet, nod your head, move your hips, shake your shoulders or generally move in whatever way you feel inspired to and dance until you can’t dance no more. Dancing to music makes my heart sing! It’s also one of the best socials we had on Doris – a random 15-minute dance session with no-one watching us except the Boobies and Oceania!


Although I was unofficially banned from singing on the boat – I loved a good sing-a-long, and any opportunity that came up – LP and I would get our groove on. Some of you may remember us mention our ‘row dance’ – well…here it is…

Laura and Nat doing a little ‘row dancing’ during our journey.
(We’re even in purple – just for Prince!)


Sometimes we forget the influence music has.

Make sure you have songs easily accessible that you know will quickly lift your spirits if you’re having a challenging moment or day, make you smile when you feel like crying, give you energy when you have none, relax you when you’re stressed and uptight, transport you back to a moment in time and make you remember that there are certain things in life that unite us all!! x




One Year Anniversary!

Laura PenhaulBy

Launch3Launch SF

Can you believe that it’s exactly 1 year TODAY that we set off from San Francisco!! It brings back such a mix of emotions, from the apprehension of the unknown and heading straight out into a storm, to the excitement and relief of simple living and less stresses of everyday life that we are now back in to. I found myself in a yoga class this morning, trying to think about being in the moment but really having to focus on fighting back the tears of the memories of emotions of a year ago, the relief at now being in the position to be able to be reflective and not having to look forward to the finish line anymore, the realisation that we actually achieved what we set out to do.

On one hand it feels like we’ve been back for ages, like the row is a distant memory. Still seeing people, like I had today for the first time since being back, and answering the question of ‘so how was it?’, seems to get more and more diluted as an answer to what it really was like. I already feel like I tell the same stories and reminisce about the same things that people can relate to, but there was 9 months of ups and downs, laughter and tears, love and frustration, but some how it all gets blurred into one smaller and smaller experience, which is crazy that the 9 months now gets summarized in less than 5 mins!


Just 3 months ago we arrived into Cairns and we are now back in the swing of normal day life on land, enjoying the showers, the clean bed linen, fresh home cooked food. Work for some of us is back in full flow and for me Rio is just a mere 4 months away. Plus the best bit of all is being back with our loving friends and family. The hardest part of this time last year was thinking what we were putting our families through and what they must have been thinking, so thankfully, a year on, we can be celebrating with them the success of the journey and being home sweet home.

Thank you to all of you that supported us throughout, it was your loving support that gave us strength and kept us working towards our common goal of bringing Doris and the team home safe and sound. xx


Adventure and Inspiration

Emma MitchellBy
It’s been a busy few weeks filled with adventures and inspiration.  I spent two weeks after Easter out in Slovenia with a team of 13/14 yr olds with True Adventure. We went trekking, helped the rangers in the Trigalav National Park, went white water rafting and cycling and explored cities and castles. The students were in charge of organising the group, the budget and the food. This trip reminded me why I love working with young people. Over the 14 days I watched them learn to work together as a team. Some of them have cooked for the first time and while initially I might have missed the days of rehydrated beef curry, now I would (almost) happily be catered for by them every day. For a lot of them it was the first time they had to be independent and it’s great to see them have their first taste of adventure. They asked me about the row a lot and it’s fun to share stories and to show how the things they learned on this expedition will stand them in good stead whatever they choose to do in the future.

Over the last two days I have been lucky enough to have been inspired by the team, athletes and young people from the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust at their annual team days. The charity uses world class athletes to mentor and inspire young people through their programs to develop five key attributes, focus, resilience, motivation, confidence and determination. Their work enriches the lives of both the young people faced with disadvantage and the athletes. During the two days the different regions around the country celebrated the achievements of the last year and were pitted against each other in fiercely competitive outdoor and indoor activities. Workshops also enabled the athletes, young people and partners of the trust to brainstorm ways to improve on the incredible impact the Trust has. I will be joining the Giveback team of athletes and am looking forward to learning more about the programs themselves. Needless to say I felt a little bit of a fraud surrounded by so many elite athletes but despite arriving on Monday morning knowing nobody I was welcomed into the extended family who like our family out on the ocean all share key values and a vision of what they want to achieve.

On Thursday I am off to St Pirans School to speak to them about the row and our values of SPIRIT. I am passionate about passing on the lessons of the row to young people and have a number of schools talks lined up. If your school is interested in a motivational speaker then get in touch at emma@coxlesscrew.com.
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