This week,  we caught up with our skipper, Anna Strang, for a mini-interview. From building confidence in new sailors to her top four moments onboard SV TravelEdge, keep reading to find our more about what it’s like to be a profession crewmember on eXXpedition’s Round the World voyage.

 

Photo credit: Sophie Dingwall / eXXpedition

 

When did you start sailing? How old were you, what peaked your interest in it?

I started when I was 6. I sailed with my cousin on a little dinghy, I remember being bribed with Werther’s Originals by my Grandfather to launch in Poole Harbour (pretty sure it was the only reason I went out at first!). It was wet and cold and we were the best at capsizing – we stayed out as long as the Werther’s lasted (it was a big bag!) As I got older I started racing on my own in the lasers and the more I learnt, the more I loved it. 

What is the biggest difference in the vibe onboard an all-female voyage? 

Constant laughter.

Photo credit: Sophie Dingwall / eXXpedition

How many nautical sailing miles do you each have under your belt before this voyage? 

I actually am not sure…  I think around 60,000nm. 

What is the first thing you teach someone when they come onboard? 

To hold on! And how to get down the stairs. 

How do you help first-timers build their confidence throughout their voyage?

Getting them involved in the sailing, usually through letting them steer at first. Explaining that boats don’t steer in a straight line so they don’t need to worry about getting it a little wrong! And explaining that the boat won’t tip over as easily as they think. Explaining how it works, how the boat will look after us if we look after it. 

What is the most fun part about that journey? 

Concentration faces! Watching people relax, become a team and enjoy it. 

Photo credit: Sophie Dingwall / eXXpedition 

What technological and non-technological tools do you rely on to navigate across the seas? 

Compass mostly, stars and clouds to help people learn to steer. Navionics is brilliant. I love using the sextant but its very time consuming, I’m currently teaching Maggie (Our Round The World First Mate)

Most sacred sailing superstitions?

Anything that angers Neptune! Bananas – after leg 8 for sure – and whistling. 

Photo credit: Sophie Dingwall / eXXpedition 

What are ideal sailing conditions? 

F6/7 wind, sunny and the wind behind and the boat pointing in the right direction.

What are you favourite night watch games or conversation topics? 

Embarrassing stories. First dates, charades in the dark. 

Favourite recipe for onboard meals? 

Butternut squash chilli. 

Photo credit: Sophie Dingwall / eXXpedition 

Any advice for people living in confined spaces and in lockdown around the world based on your experiences out at sea?

Routines are important, filling your day with small tasks and keeping busy. Spend time over meal prep. It sounds a bit nerdy, but I always like to watch the clouds and weather develop at sea. It’s the closest I get to meditation, so look up!

What is your favourite job onboard? 

Trimming sails, making the boat go faster. 

What is your least favourite job onboard?

Washing up after I’ve been cooking… (I make a huge mess..) 

What is a destination you have not been to yet that you would like to sail to? 

Cape Horn. 

What has been a highlight from the RTW voyages? 

There’s loads! 

  1. Halfway parties: They are silly and full of laughter and I love how ever much effort is put in, the performances are brilliant and everyone gets involved. Millie’s cameo appearances in the Pacific were great.
  2. Dinger’s (Sophie, Round The World Deckhand on Voyage Legs 1-5) amazing adventure tales of people helping us out in every port. The 6 hours venture to get some cable in Antigua being the best. 
  3. The whale surfing with us on Leg 2! It was amazing to see a Minke whale so interested with us, over and over again it appeared behind us, surfing the waves as it charged at us, before disappearing under the boat, it was incredible, despite my concerns of a Moby Dick moment.
  4. Diving in the Galapagos with hammerheads and all the other sharks with Winnie (eXXpedition Round The World Science Lead), we did an underwater dance! 

 

Photo credit: Sophie Dingwall / eXXpedition