Category Archives: Mediterranean (Leg 6)

A Whale of a time at the St Barth’s Bucket!

(Audrey Adamson)

Well, you knew we were hardly going to stay off the water forever! It should come as no surprise to hear that we returned to our beloved LUSH for a spot of racing in the Caribbean last week, massive thanks to Eddie & Marie Jordan. After a super time last year at the St Barth’s Bucket, superyacht regatta, we re-entered the event this year. Every spring the worlds most magnificent and exquisite super-yachts congregate in this stunning French Island for their annual Caribbean showdown. Arriving onto LUSH felt as though we had never left. The four new crew members are doing a super-duper job and have had a busy charter season in the Caribbean. It was such a treat to be onboard as Eddie & Marie’s guests even if it did feel a bit odd sleeping in one of the beautiful guest cabins while the crew were up forward in the more compact crew quarters! Mind ya, we didn’t have much of a chance to swan about as “guests”, we were actually onboard as race-crew and so got straight into race mode on arrival.

Humpback Whale breeching right next to LUSH! Michael H. Donnelly

Humpback Whale breeching right next to LUSH! Pic: Stephane Scotto –

You’ll see from these photos that it was the wildlife and not the racing or the magnificent Superyachts that stole the show for us this week. We thought we had seen it all on our circumnavigation and then low and behold, right in front of LUSH, out of nowhere, a massive Humpback whale breached within a boat-length of us on the final race of the event. And it breached again on our beam as we sailed past and by our stern and a few more times after that. Wow, wow, wow!!!! Just imagine this mammal, weighing in around 40 tones with a length of 15 meters, launching itself out of the water with unbelievable power and verocity and then landing with an enormous splash. Eddie, Marie and the whole crew were left speechless (which is unusual for EJ), we were in total awe, and needless to say we lost a bit of focus on the racing!

Humpback Whales breach for a variety of reasons but in this case we’re pretty sure it wanted to check out the beautiful pink whale printed on our spinnaker, I guess it’s been the talk of the ocean since we set sail over two years ago! Plenty of other yachts in the vicinity witnessed these awesome breaches too and managed to snap these photos and send them onto us. It’s so rare to get these breaches this close to a yacht let alone on camera and massive thanks goes to the photographers. I do hope they get plenty of recognition for such wonderful pics.

Now back to the racing…. Racing against superyachts is very different from your regular yacht racing. For starters there’s millions upon millions upon millions of pounds worth of yachts sailing against each other and LUSH was actually one of the smallest yachts in it, if not the smallest! Yachts should actually be 31 meters and above to enter the Bucket and at 26 meters an exception was made for us under the ‘Grandfather Clause’ which basically leaves it up to the discretion of the Bucket organizers to invite us to race. The biggest yacht entered was 56 meters, which is 183 foot!!! And remember every foot gives you so much more in volume so these yachts were just massive!!

Mother Humpback Whale Breeching Pic: Marie Jordan

Mother Humpback Whale Breeching Pic: Marie Jordan

It’s supposed to be a fun gentlemen’s type regatta set in the Corinthian spirit, which it is to a certain extend but racing is racing at the end of the day and when Eddie Jordan is your boss he wants to see us up there in the mix with the big boys. We managed to “mix it up” more successfully than last year and finished 5th overall in our class beating yachts with some serious pro racers including Olympic gold medalists and Americas cup sailors! Whoop whoop! The handicap system is a bit funky to say the least but that’s just the way it is at this regatta. So it’s a case of like it or lump it, I’m afraid. We feel we should certainly have been in the top three, maybe next year

There were 21 of us onboard for the racing with at least 10-12 of those helping with the launching and dousing of our massive 5,500 sq foot yellow spinnaker. Full on!!! Paul was on the helm and I had the “safety officer” role again. Every yacht completing must have a safety officer and there are various qualifications and credentials one must have to carry out this role. I actually had to give my racing CV to the race office as part of the “requirements to race”. The safety officer must be a member of the afterguard whose sole responsibility is in communicating with the other yachts on the VHF while racing and communicate the racing rules, collision avoidance and safe maneuvering of the yacht. When racing against yachts of this size you can’t just throw in a quick tack and expect the other yacht to respond immediately. Our Oyster 885’ was one of the more maneuverable yachts there but on a 55 meter Perini Navi it’s a whole other ballgame when it comes to tacking and gybing. These giants of the yachting industry made LUSH look like a topper dingy when beside us and we would be cast into darkness as they blocked the sun sailing next to us and as for the wind…. well you just don’t want to be the leeward boat!

Our Final Gybe To Finish!It was great catching up with oul pals from the yachting industry and it was particularly lovely to meet my cousin Caragh, who raced on a gigantic Wally yacht for the week. Caragh is a true inspiration to any of you out there who dare to give up a life in the office for the ocean waves. She took up sailing a few years ago when the Volvo Ocean Race came to her home-town in Galway and last year she packed in her day-job after racing Round Ireland on a chartered Volvo 70’. Man has she got the bug! She was then offered a job onboard the 70’ sailing the Med and then onto the Caribbean for race charters where she has spent the last few months sailing and racing the warm crystal clear waters there. And then she lands herself on one of the biggest yachts racing in the Bucket for the week! One Life… she’s living it, that’s for sure! So if this is the kind of life you want, then stop kidding yourself by doing something else! The only thing in your way is you yourself!!! Go for it and who knows where you might be this time next year!

Back in the UK now and Paul is all go with his online skippers leadership programme, which he recently launched after months of work and research. This is a programme that Paul personally developed called the 7 Master Skills of Highly Successful Skippers and is an industry first in skipper leadership training. If you’re keen to get your hands on these awesome free training videos click here  to see what Paul has to say about them and sign up today!

Click the link for FREE SKIPPER TRAINING  –> 

One Life… Live it and just go for it!!!

Lots of love,

Audrey xxx

Speaking Engagements & Paul’s Exciting New Project!

Well, we’ve had a heap of fun speaking at various engagements since we finished up on LUSH.  It’s been just super to relive our circumnavigation and share some of our stories along with the challenges and learning that comes with such an awesome undertaking.  I’m honoured to have been asked to return to my old secondary school on Achievements Day this May and speak to all the students there about the path I have taken since my schooling days and how I fulfilled my lifetime dream!

Paul & Audrey Speaking At An International Leadership Conference

Paul & Audrey Speaking At An International Leadership Conference

Paul is now returning to his business motivational coaching and keynote speaking.  If you’re interested to find out more check Paul out on: or you can drop him a line on  He will of course keep a hand in on the yachting side.  He currently looks after a few private clients for bespoke sailing projects and will be back in the Caribbean on LUSH next week for a week racing in the St Barths Bucket with Eddie Jordan & Co.

If you are part of our mailing list you will already know that Paul has developed some awesome online training to help skippers who want to be at the top of their game and become true leaders on the water, a subject which has rarely, if ever, been taught in this industry and one that makes the biggest difference on a boat once mastered.  I have sailed on numerous yachts over the years in all different types of projects, as skipper and as crew, and Paul’s help and training has made the biggest difference in my sailing, without doubt!  I’m thrilled he has finally put his leadership skills into a system that everyone can use.  Paul’s skills, tips and methods will dramatically change the way you approach skippering.

Eddie Jordan along with previous clients and trainees of Paul’s have been onto Paul for ages about this as they understand that these skills don’t come naturally to the majority of skippers.  Fine, if you can sail a boat, park a boat and navigate your boat but to actually run a yacht smoothly and efficiently along with happy & helpful crew is a whole other ballgame.

Paul Adamson Online Skipper Training

Paul Adamson Online Skipper Training

If you are an eager yachter and strive to be at the top of your game then this is for you.  If you’re fed up of all the stress that you’ve had onboard over the years, trying to deal with problems afloat and making difficult decisions than this is for you!  If you want to stay where you are in the sport and just continue to ‘get by’ or continue to read the same oul articles that really don’t change you as a skipper or a leader then this is not for you.  If you don’t want to learn from the best with the experience to back that up then just keep doing as you have for years and don’t change anything and certainly don’t click here.  If you think that all the problems you’ve had on your boat over the years are due to outside influences (ie poor crew, bad weather, poor quality boat, pure workmanship, poor services, lack of finances) and not due to you and your ability to lead and run your yacht than this is not for you!

The button below is for the 1% of sailors out there who genuinely want to be the best and believe they can achieve this by learning from the best and from the person who has created new systems and cutting edge teaching models over the last few years while working on a massive building and sailing project for Eddie Jordan (the founder and owner of Jordan Grand Prix and currently lead BBC analyst for Formula One).


Click Here For Awesome FREE Online Skipper Training 


Are you fed of up doing the same thing year after year? Yes? Is it time to spice up your sailing? Yes? Do you want to broaden your horizons?  Yes? Do you believe you can still learn? Yes?  Do you want more? Yes!

If Yes then click below!

Click Here For Awesome FREE Online Skipper Training


One Life … Yes I want to live it!!!

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A Chef’s Journey: From Dentist to Superyacht Chef!

It’s October 2012 and we’ve only a couple weeks to go till we set off on our circumnavigation: I’m hunched over my shopping trolley in Waitrose supermarket, Southampton, in floods of tears. Paul is beside me looking awkward and trying to get me to snap out of this supermarket breakdown! I had never felt so overwhelmed in all my life. We had two weeks left to go and I just crumbled at the thought of how I could pull this whole cooking thing off! I broke down on three different occasions while loading the trolleys with food. Paul was mortified as people gave him dirty looks assuming he must have upset his poor wife! In fact, I did it all on my own. And as I looked down aisle upon aisle of food I just couldn’t see how I would ever be prepared enough for this role I had undertaken. This was the role of super-yacht chef. I was also the medic and first mate on board however those jobs came easily to me but this cooking malarkey was a whole other ballgame.

Chef Audrey Adamson

Chef Audrey Adamson

A year earlier Eddie had contacted Paul offering us this once in a lifetime opportunity to sail around the world on his Oyster 885’ LUSH. And Paul did say to Eddie at the time that I was “quite a capable cook”, which Paul genuinely believed. He clearly never noticed all the Marks & Sparks packaging in the bin over the years! Yes, I would have thrown the odd dinner party for friends but this would have taken me a good few days to prepare for and I would have followed the recipe word for word with all the exact ingredients. I didn’t have time for ‘slaving about in a kitchen,’ I was a career girl with a massive hobby outside of my dental job and that of course was sailing. Sailing was (and still is) my passion. If I wasn’t studying for exams as a student or working in a dental practice after qualifying I was on the water, my second home.



Audrey taking on a reef shark that randomly ended up on the rod when we left it in overnight!! SO we thought we better eat him!!

Audrey taking on a reef shark that randomly ended up on the rod when we left it in overnight!! SO we thought we better eat him!!

I would watch other cooks in awe as they threw a bit of this and a bit of that into a pot with great ease managing to produce a fine meal. The TV show Ready Steady Cook with chef Ainsley Harriott really bugged me, I just couldn’t get my head around how someone could think up a meal on the spot with just a couple of ingredients??!!!! My mum is a passionate cook, she would have as many culinary books as I had sailing ones and she tried tirelessly over the years to persuade me to don an apron and learn this great skill, “it’ll stand to you some day!” she’d say and as Paul & I considered Eddies proposition I hate to say it but I just wished I’d listened to mum over the years! Still though at least I had a year to get myself organized.

Mini Fruit Skewers

Mini Fruit Skewers

It was hard to know where to start. Gastronomy has to be the biggest subject in the world, there’s a phenomenal amount of information available online, in bookshops, magazines, everyone has something to say on the subject and this overload of information certainly did not help in my initial path to competency! Two months went by and I still hadn’t sorted out a plan for my cooking and after making a few calls I managed to find a brilliant chef and instructor Hazel Mc Fadden who would teach me one-on-one everything I needed to know once weekly. I had considered doing a month or three-month long cookery course in the likes of Ballymaloe Cookery School but that would have meant giving up dental job a lot earlier than planned and also I would have been learning about various dishes and types of cooking that with my particular brief would have been irrelevant to me. Eddie and Marie wanted healthy wholesome cooking with very little bread, deserts etc… no sugar, no gluten and no dairy was the request!


Spicy Prawn & Chrizo salad (Eddie's fav)

Spicy Prawn & Chrizo salad (Eddie’s fav)

I would need to get a massive handle on seafood dishes and fancy salads galore along with gluten free, dairy free cooking. The sugar-free bit came easy enough to me as a dentist! Hazel was terrific, we met up once a week, and while the learning curve was steep I felt I had a good handle on it all, by the time I moved to Southampton, in September 2012. I then did a week-course in Rick Stein’s famous cookery school, Padstow, courtesy of Eddie. Various superyacht chefs in Southampton guided me through all the galley preparation, equipment, utensils and food provisioning. The tips they gave me were absolutely life saving and I’ll be here all day if I start to go into them now (you’ll have to wait for the book!). My mum was a super source of recipes and encouragement as always and Paul’s stepdad Bob suggested some clever bits of equipment to bring with me in particular a vacuum-pack machine which is essential for those of you planning some long offshore trips!

A shortbread strawberry and rasberry coulis treat! Yum!

A shortbread strawberry and rasberry coulis treat! Yum!

However, even after all that prep I was extremely stressed in the weeks leading up to our departure. Our first offshore leg we had 8 people onboard including the four crew, our second offshore leg was to follow in quick succession of the first with only a couple of days lay-over, and on that leg I would be catering for 10 people while we crossed the Atlantic Ocean. Then after two weeks at sea we would have a few days in Antigua to prepare before Eddie and Marie would join LUSH for the first time and spend the following 6 weeks (the first of many 6wk stints) onboard! I would then be catering for up on 12 people between crew and guests. Oh and I suffer from seasickness, did I mention that? Over my years sailing I have always had the upmost of respect for chefs working on yachts and I NEVER once wished to have such a job. Fine, if you’re on a racing yacht and everyone is eating freeze-dried food that you just add water to or army ration packs but on a superyacht with a galley you have to cook, it’s as simply as that!


Audrey bartering at a market with packets of herbal seeds that the locals had never seen before!  Brilliant!

Audrey bartering at a market with packets of herbal seeds that the locals had never seen before! Brilliant!

Standing in Waitrose that afternoon, all that kept going through my mind was if I was having ten people round for dinner in my house my fridge and cupboards would be full with all the food I’d need for just one meal!!! “How the hell am I going to do this and have all the food I need for the guts of a month at sea with the same size fridge onboard as I have at home?” Luckily, I came up with a plan! I cooked all the meals in advance, vac packed them into A4 size flat packs and froze them. Thankfully we had a freezer! Slowly and surely I started to get on top of my brief! 100s of supermarket shopping expeditions later I managed to stuff the bilge, cupboards, freezer & fridge on LUSH full with food. I had a plan in place for every eventually….

If the fridge broke or the freezer or even the oven at sea one must have a plan B because there is nowhere to go in the middle of the ocean! Paul and Alan were always at hand to fix any technical faults in my galley, the only thing that outdid them was when the microchip on the motherboard of the oven burnt out. But that’s another story (again, it’s in the book)! Sailing to far-flung islands I had no idea what I could get food-wise ashore making it imperative to be absolutely fully prepared. At no other point (thankfully) was I anywhere near as stressed on our two-year circumnavigation as I was in those months back in Southampton. There is just a colossal amount of work involved in preparing a yacht to go to sea let alone to embark on a circumnavigation and on a yacht of this caliber and working for a celebrity like Eddie Jordan the pressure on me was immense. Nothing I had ever done up to this point came anywhere close to it!

Seared Indian Ocean Tuna on a bed of Roasted Vegetables (Paul's Fav!)

Seared Indian Ocean Tuna on a bed of Roasted Vegetables (Paul’s Fav!)

Was it worth it? Absol-bloody-utely!! And did I enjoy cooking onboard LUSH and have the most fun-job you could ever have on a yacht? Absol-bloody-utely! It was tremendously fulfilling, I cooked with ingredients from all over the world, some of the time I didn’t even know what I was actually cooking but I’d try everything. At markets I met the most wonderful people and had such a laugh figuring out the local language and the food. I truly got to know countries and islands even if we were there for a short time! I appreciated where food comes from, the hard work & love that goes into growing it, the art and time involved in fishing, which as you know we did plenty of! This job didn’t just involve cooking food, it involved a connection with produce and people. And yes it was a whole different experience than just going to the supermarket and I’m so fortunate to have experienced it. And as for the seasickness? Yes, I still did get that from time to time depending on the conditions. At least sailing west through the tropics is pretty much all downwind so that made life in the galley a lot more bearable! And it’s so small in my whole circumnavigation story that I’m glad I didn’t let it beat me!

Duck, Watercrest & Almond salad

Duck, Watercrest & Almond salad

The job of a superyacht chef on a circumnavigation project is a tough demanding one and sometimes there would be absolutely NOTHING to buy ashore other than coconuts and bananas! Honestly! I was continually challenged to think on my feet and come up with a fancy dinner of sorts for Eddie, Marie and their guests. After I had succeeded in my first month of offshore cuisine from Southampton to the Caribbean, I was pretty nervous cooking up my first proper plate for Eddie and Marie in Antigua. Thankfully they were both an absolute joy to cook and work for. Eddie’s first comment on sampling my cuisine was “wow, that’s sensational”!! Honestly, I couldn’t believe it! “Sensational”, what a word!!! And that was just my first meal for them, I cooked hundreds and hundreds of dishes over the two-year period and yes kept learning along the way. There were times when we were supposed to eat ashore and the plan might get changed last minute and I’d have to cook up something quickly or I’d be about to serve dinner and the lads would have to move the boat for some reason. Things changed constantly, no two days or two meals were ever the same. I even cooked for Royalty and a smattering of celebs along the way. Hard to imagine that I was unable to scramble eggs a year earlier! Undoubtedly the biggest journey of the last few years for me wasn’t the 38,000 nautical miles but rather the journey of self-development I’ve been on as a person and a chef (and need I say it but there’s just too much of it to go into here…. wait for the book!)

Chef dishes up some 'Singapore Chilli Crab'

Chef dishes up some ‘Singapore Chilli Crab’

To circumnavigate the world was my dream! For as far as I can remember I wanted to sail around the world! Okay, in my early years I fancied the idea of racing around a la Volvo Ocean Race style and then when Paul and I met we talked of building our own yacht some day and doing it. I never planned to do it in a professional capacity for a couple of reasons. The first being my previous culinary inadequacy and the second was because I had this notion I wanted to do it on our terms in our time (crazy!). I’m not sure we’ve told you this but Paul and I nearly turned down Eddies job offer!!! We nearly turned down this enormous dream opportunity because we had notions about how we wanted our dream to fair out! I wonder are any of you readers missing opportunities because it’s not packaged exactly as you imagine? I’m delighted that I had to learn such a massive skill to fulfill my dream and one that will stand to me forever more. And yes, Paul too was challenged and he learnt a whole heap along the way, which he’ll be revealing very shortly through our mailing list.


BBQ time!!  We had millions of BBQs onboard and at the beach!  Eddie just loved it!

BBQ time!! We had millions of BBQs onboard and at the beach! Eddie just loved it!

And now, what next for me? Well I’ve come the full circle on this chef’s journey and I’m going to hang up my apron and sailing boots for now and return to dentistry, this time in the south of the UK. I’ve always loved my job as a dentist and if you’re a patient of mine you’ll know that. On that note, thank you to all my patients who have emailed me while I’ve been away and for all your messages of encouragement. It’s amazing the amount of people though, that have asked me recently how could I ever “return to the day job?”, the thing is in dentistry I don’t just view it as treating “teeth,” I’m treating people at the end of the day, same in cooking it’s not just about the “food” but more importantly it’s about people. And once you focus on making people smile and making a difference, however small, you will ultimately be fulfilled whatever your job!

Some West of Ireland Pork Belly served up mid Pacific with a good helping of crackling!! (Marie's fav!)

Some West of Ireland Pork Belly served up mid Pacific with a good helping of crackling!! (Marie’s fav!)











Will I return to the sea some day? You know me well by now folks! Do I really need to answer that question? Luckily the sea isn’t going anywhere for the foreseeable future, if anything it’s growing! Meantime we’ll have to live vicariously through your blogs, so please send on links! For Paul & I it’s time for a new chapter and a spot of landlubbing!!

One Life… Live it!!


Lots of love,

Audrey xxx


Our Book

We have the first draft of our book complete, which apparently in book publishing terms is the very start of a long and arduous process. If any of you have any connections in the crazy world of books and publishing please do link us up.

Paul’s Big Secret!

Paul has been working away since September on a very exciting project, while we’ve been in Spain. He’s literally going to reveal this to you in a private email within the coming days. Sorry that there’s been a delay on it, I know a few of you have been wondering what’s keeping Paul from making his big announcement! I promise it’ll be worth it when you hear what he’s been up to! So if you’re not already signed up, sign up now and hear all Paul’s exciting news.
Click Here to Find Out about Paul’s Special Project!


Speaking Engagements Paul and I will be speaking in the National Yacht Club, Dun Laoghaire, Dublin on Thursday the 19th of February. If you’re keen to hear more about our travels and have a good fun night out then please ring the National Yacht Club and join us for dinner (€25 for 2 course meal) at 7.30pm followed by our Circumnavigation talk afterwards! Website: Phone: 01 2801198 If you would like us to speak at your event, yacht club or wherever please just drop us a line here.

Click Here to Find Out about Paul’s Special Project!

So Where Did They Send Napoleon?

Just reminiscing on our time last January in one of the most remote islands in the world, St Helena. Situated in the middle of the South Atlantic it was one of our final stopovers before returning to the Caribbean! Here’s a video from Sharon & Darren Henry who were running the local radio station SAMS at the time.

For more of our blog posts on St Helena click here:

One Life… Live it for sure!!!


Speaking Engagements

Paul & Audrey Speaking

Paul and I will be speaking in the National Yacht Club, Dun Laoghaire, Dublin on Thursday the 19th of February. If you’re keen to hear more about our travels and have a good fun night out then please ring the National Yacht Club and join us for dinner (€25 for 2 course meal) at 7.30pm followed by our Circumnavigation afterwards!


Phone: 01 2801198

If you would like us to speak at your event, yacht club or wherever please just drop us a line here.



So whats next Paul??

So whats next Paul??

Paul has got some very exciting news for you all about the awesome project he’s been developing since we finished up on LUSH. He will be telling you all about it next week via email. And he’s got a few cool things about the trip to reveal too plus a video from Eddie Jordan!

This will ONLY BE AVAILABLE TO THOSE OF YOU WHO HAVE SIGNED UP! So if you’re not already part of our mailing list, click below to hear Paul’s incredible news! This project is an industry first! Whoop, whoop!!

Click Here to Join Us Now!


Sail To Success in 2015!

Have you ever made a New Year Resolution and NOT stuck to it?

I know I have at times!

Anyway for New Year and as a gift to you I thought I would make this quick little video explaining how you can use my, “Sail to Success System” to put the wind in your sails for 2015!

I would love to hear your questions and comments, just pop them below! If you think the “Sail to Success System” would benefit any of your friends, feel free to share the video!

Oh and I can’t wait to let you in on my new project! It’s so exciting and I know you will love it! So get on the mailing list so I can tell you about very shortly!!!

Click Here to Join Us Now!


The Dangers of Electronic Nav Aids | Volvo 65

“I made a big mistake” were the humble sobering words from navigator Wouter Verbraak of abandoned Volvo 65, Team Vestas, as he took to his Facebook page this morning adding “I am totally devastated and still in shock as the gravity of our grounding is slowly sinking in”

Firstly, I want to congratulate the skipper, Chris Nicolson, for his leadership in extremely difficult and dangerous circumstances during the grounding and subsequent evacuation of his yacht on a reef, at night, in the middle of the Indian Ocean. “I take full responsibility” were the skippers words and it is incredible that all 9 members of team Vestas are safe and physically unharmed after such a shocking event.

From sailing through the Pacific and Indian Ocean last year during our circumnavigation on LUSH I understand how this could happen. However, I have a few observations on this incident which I feel we all can learn from.

1. Whilst the yacht was on passage it appears that there was no cross referencing on a paper chart. Keeping a running plot on a paper chart should have shown the navigator that the reef was a danger.

2. Wouter Verbraak, the navigator, explained “What I saw was depths of 42m & 80m indicated” on the electronic chart. These oceans are thousands of meters deep so if anything shows up different to this i.e. 42m/80m it is prudent to investigate further. In aviation this would be similar to flying an aircraft at 40,000 feet and the pilot crossing a mountain range where the clearance is a few hundred feet. Would a pilot go that close to the mountain in the first place?

3. Fatigue would have played a substantial part in this accident too and this comes down watch systems and having another couple of accountable eyes on the navigation too, continually cross checking, especially when racing under such pressure and with such little sleep.

4. From seeing the video footage before the grounding I am unclear if the crew were wearing life jackets and clipped onto the yacht with safety lanyards? This would be a standard procedure whilst sailing at night. (I appreciate that they carry survival suits with integral flotation devices but I’m unsure from the footage whether they were wearing them or not)

Media man Brian Carlin, once again shows us his untiring dedication to his role onboard.  His jaw-dropping footage and documentation is amazing!  Thankfully everyone is safe which truly is phenomenal given such extreme circumstances.

It is vitally important that as sailors and an industry we ALL LEARN FROM THIS INCIDENT!

Having skippered a yacht around the world over the past 2 years and negotiated numerous coral reefs I can say with some authority that many reefs did not match the charts.  The bottom line is when navigating around coral you have to be razor sharp and you must not allow yourself to fall into the screen junkie trap!

It is so easy to become hypnotised by the screen! Get your head out of the boat!

It is so easy to become hypnotised by the screen! Get your head out of the boat!

Over my years teaching and examining skippers in yachting and navigation I have noticed that as technology has become more common place onboard we all tend to over-rely on it.  Many people just blindly trust the screen without question and base all their decisions from that alone.



What this means is that it is easy for us to fall into the trap of over-reliance.  Check out this awesome little video of us in Tonga to see the differences between the Electronic Chart and what is actually there!

This was also the case when navigating in Fiji and was particularly highlighted as we approached The Lau Group of islands.

After cross-referencing between our paper chart, pilot book and electronics it all seemed very straight forward to enter the lagoon by sailing down an approach transit through the cut in the reef and then head around the north of the island to the anchorage.

However, it became apparent when we arrived off the lagoon that the position of the yacht on the chart plotter was inaccurate by around 0.5 NM (1 km) relative to the land.  Bear in mind, the cut in the reef is just 50 meters wide and our yacht is 27 meters long so there no margin for error!

I learned a long time ago that your best navigation tools are YOUR EYES and it is critical that you use them!

As we sailed around the outside of the island at a safe distance, I indentified what looked like the transit, NOTE what I wrote there! “What LOOKED LIKE!”  I didn’t confirm this was the transit until I had taken a bearing and matched this with the paper chart.

It was very clear that there was an error as we had LUSH on the transit yet our chart plotter showed us south of the transit. This was confirmed by a simple overlay with the radar screen onto the chart plotter, which acted as a second check for me and shows the error very clearly.

Here you can see the RADAR picture in pink - which should be over the yellow of the land! The difference is the error!

Here you can see the RADAR picture in pink – which should be over the yellow of the land! The difference is the error!

It was totally deceiving and when you look at the picture you will see it looked like we were going to run onto the reef, which was not the case.

At times like these, as a skipper, you must be razor sharp with your management of the boat and delegate tasks to the crew so you don’t get overloaded or confused.

I have seen skippers get confused on numerous occasions, hypnotised by the screen, and they end up completely disorientated whilst their yacht carries on moving!

The trick to break this hypnotic trance is to get your head “out of the boat” and forget the screen.  Start looking at the land and appreciate the big picture!

I immediately briefed the crew with what jobs I wanted them to undertake.  I instructed the helmsman not to worry about anything else apart from sailing the course and keep the yacht with just enough speed for steerage.

SLOWING DOWN will buy you time to make quality decisions and also allow you to proceed with caution.

I posted look-outs on the bow, with radios, so they could feed me information about what they could see.  ‘NB’ Your lookouts need to be wearing polarised sunglasses!  This dramatically reduces the reflection of the sun on the water allowing you to see most obstructions.  There were times when the only thing that would get us through a reef were our sunglasses!

Get your team on the bow and port and starboard side to feed you information.

Get your team on the bow and port and starboard side to feed you information.


With the above setup we took our time and safely entered one of the most beautiful locations on the whole trip without incident.

We contacted the yachts in the vicinity on VHF entering behind us, informing them about the error.

However, a nearby yacht hadn’t received the warning message and unfortunately for them they were about to learn the lesson of over reliance the HARD WAY!

They totally relied on their screen, lining their yacht up on the transit on their plotter and promptly followed the screen until they found the reef with their keel! Fortunately no damage was done except maybe to the skipper’s pride!

So the moral of the story is that when you are navigating your yacht (especially near coral in far flung places), you must be switched on, slow down and cross reference all your information from your paper charts, pilot books & Electronics!

Below are a couple of pointers of what to remember!

Navigational Technique

➢ Always Cross Reference Paper Charts / Pilot Books / Electronic Charts
➢ Overlay RADAR screen onto the chart on the chart plotter
➢ Use Traditional Navigation with regard to transits / clearing bearings etc
➢ Keep a Sharp Eye on the Depth Sounder!

Operational Technique

➢ Brief Crew & Delegate Tasks
➢ Time your arrival/departure with the sun behind you (Daylight Only!)
➢ Decent Polarized Sunglasses
➢ Navigate at a Safe Speed
➢ Post Lookouts (Up High if you can!)
➢ Keep your head out of the boat!

Remember, Sail Safely, Enjoy Your Passion & see you next time! If you have any comments or questions please post them below!

One Life… Live It

Paul ☺

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What next for the mighty LUSH? | Oyster 885

Well it’s back to work as usual for LUSH and her new crew. After we said our farewells in Antibes the crew got straight onto preparing LUSH for potential viewing at the Monaco Boat Show. Yes that’s right folks LUSH is for sale. A couple of weeks later the crew sailed LUSH back to Palma where Paul had previously booked her into the yard there, to complete all the necessary warranty work with Oyster.


Thankfully over our two years at sea there weren’t any ‘showstopper’ issues onboard, however as with any boat, there was a couple of bits and pieces to get sorted along the way. LUSH is the first of the Oyster 885s and normally you’d expect a bigger ‘snag’ list especially with a yacht that’s first of a new design. There are a few reasons why LUSH sailed so successfully around the world. Oyster Yachts Southampton, where LUSH was built have an exceptionally super team of boat builders and craftsmen and women, who worked tirelessly to have LUSH in pristine condition for our departure in November 2012.


Eddie got Paul involved with the project a year previous to the launch. Paul and I both agree with Eddie that if you want a boat ready for a trip like this you need the captain, who’ll be running the yacht, involved in decisions of build and more so deciding what systems he wants onboard. I think a lot of issues people have with their luxury yachts is that they don’t get their crew involved early enough. Paul will go into his decisions on the build side at a later stage, he has some very interesting insights on this. Paul and the project manager, Alan Harmer, worked well together and Alan had an excellent handle on what Eddie and Paul’s objectives were.


Alan Coker and a couple of guys from the commissioning team sailed with us on our maiden voyage to Las Palmas. We were met by an Oyster team there to iron out any teething issues. Sailing in a Rally around the world also made a massive difference because you had the Oyster Team, Eddie Scougal and Debbie Johnson, nearby if you needed. Alan Canavan, our great engineer, moved to Southampton a few months before our departure, which meant he too was clear and happy with all the systems onboard giving him ample time to get all the necessary tools, spare parts etc for the circumnavigation .



Last month, after two weeks in Palma, LUSH set sail for the Canaries and has just completed another transatlantic. She is now back in the Caribbean moored on our beloved island of Antigua. She is still for sale however Eddie will sail her in the meantime and (drum roll..) she is available for charter over the Christmas and the coming Caribbean season. At the moment the crew are busy getting her shipshape to show at the Antigua Charter Show next week (5th-11th Dec) Here’s a link to the show

She is a superb charter yacht, with her forth guest cabin meaning she can take up to 8 guests. She stands out from all other yachts her size and up to 120 feet. You would be astonished with the amount of volume she on and below deck. Tim and Sibylla have run numerous charters over the years and will run an awesome holiday for their charter guests along with the deck/engineer Alvie and their new stewardess.  Drop us a line if your interested in chartering LUSH at


In the meantime Paul and I are busy writing a book on our epic adventure and have had a few speaking engagements, where we “wowed” the audience with our story inspiring them to achieve their dreams too! We’re going to do a load more speaking in the new year mainly between the UK and Ireland. If you are running an event and are looking for some inspiring speakers, please get in touch on


Paul is in the middle of a really cool new project, which will make a massive difference to a lot of sailors and skippers! He will be announcing this to our mailing list over the next month, so if your not on our list, Get on it!!

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One Life … living it, writing it and now speaking about it!!!


Stepping Down As Captain!

The taxi honked its horn and it was time to step ashore for the final time as Captain of this magnificent yacht!

I glanced at the log, it read : 38,452 miles!!

“Wow” I thought, 38,452 miles, 22 months at sea and 5 oceans, what an incredible journey we have sailed!

I was thrilled, as all who sailed onboard, had a blast and came home safely with no injuries.

As Captain / Skipper you are totally responsible for not only the yacht but the safety and welfare for all of those onboard. When I am skippering this responsibility is always on my mind and although it may not show, I am constantly running my, “Inner Game” to make sure whatever we do is safe and the risks of anything going wrong are minimised!

“Well Done Paul” my inner voice said as I hugged the new team and wished them the best of luck with their new adventure onboard LUSH!

I then promptly walked down the Passerelle and hopped ashore into the taxi.

As we pulled away, a tear fell from my right eye and rolled slowly down my cheek as I welled up and realised that this chapter of my life’s journey had just come to an end.

All I could feel in that moment, is a total feeling of complete gratitude from head to toe to Eddie and Marie for giving us both this incredible lifetime opportunity!

Rewind 7 Days! 

Tim and Sybilla Beebe arrived at the stern of Lush and walked onboard their new command for the first time!

Alvaro, our Deck Engineer met his new team mates and talked fondly of Lush and how they will enjoy sailing and running her.

Tim & Sybilla have come from a long line of Oysters! In fact only 5 days earlier they had stepped ashore from the Oyster 72′ “Magrathea” they had been running to come and take over Lush from us!

This was the beginning of an intensive week onboard Lush!

The previous 3 weeks had also been full on as I wanted to ensure I handed over LUSH to Tim in the best possible condition and so I completed a full final run through of every system and fitting and fixture of the yacht.

Part of this process included a full on rig check by John Spear who originally rigged Lush when she was built. I arranged for John to fly down from the UK to fully check the mast and standing rigging survey. I have some really interesting insights on this process which I will share with you on a future blog!

You have to imagine how complex a yacht like Lush is, she is a £6M luxury sailing yacht that is packed full of systems that not only power her and propel her but also allow guests to enjoy and relax in 7 star accommodation!

For Tim & Sybilla they would need to become acquainted with Lush and all of those systems and understand how Eddie likes Lush to be run.

One of the benefits of working in the “Oyster Family of Skippers” is Oyster only pick the best manufacturers and keep the systems the same over the whole range.

In simplistic terms, what this means, is all the yachts are fitted with the same Manufactures’ systems and those systems are either spread out over a 90′ yacht like ours or more compact into the smaller yachts in the range!

This means, when you transfer to another Oyster you will have a great grasp on the systems fitted, you just need to learn if its more complex and where the components of the system are located.

So my job initially was to take Tim through every nook and cranny onboard and show him where absolutely every, fuse, relay, pump, control valve, inlet, tank and many other items are located onboard! Trust me there are quite a few!

We spent the first 3 days going through the entire yacht and Tim made notes, asked many questions to get good feel for what he was taking on!

Whilst I was taking Tim though Lush, Audrey was taking Sybilla though the Galley and all  the interior so she became familiar with the interior side of the yacht.

By Day 4 we ready to go for a sail and give the guys the opportunity to handle Lush.

Tim expertly drove us out of our berth and we set sail in a beautiful 12 knots of Southerly breeze and Lush slipped across the Bay of Nice at 9.5 knots!

I could see the new team Lush form their bonds and all three of them, Tim, Sybilla & Alvaro were grinning like Cheshire Cats!

I knew in that moment that this crew transition would be really smooth and Eddie & Marie would be very happy with the new team!

I thought back to when we got Lush blessed in Southampton and considered the words the priest spoke from the, “Mariner’s Prayer” which was, “Guide us safely Lord” and I thought to myself, “Guide This New Team Safely Lord” 

So it was with great pleasure to handover Lush to Tim, Sybilla & Alvaro and I wish them the absolute best onboard!

One Life…Live It!

Paul  🙂

So whats next?

Many of you have been asking us what’s next!

Well….stay tuned because we are working on something right now that is going to be absolutely outstanding and will make a massive difference! I can’t tell you quite yet what it is but I know you will LOVE IT! 

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Last Night At Sea

Our final sail on LUSH was from Corsica back to the South of France and honestly it was one of our most spectacular nights at sea. Even after twenty two months looking at sunsets and then night skies you would think we’d seen it all and that maybe we’d be bored of evening and night sailing by now. However, any of you who have been to sea know there are never two days the same nor two nights. For us it’s even more of a treat to sail along a coast with the amount of ocean sailing we’ve done. All the ingredients were there that glorious evening for a most memorable and marvellous sun set as LUSH ghosted along the eastern Corsican coast in the fading breeze.

Paul and I sat on the bow seat looking out to sea and over the Corsican mountains. We reflected on what has been the most INCREDIBLE, EXTRAORDINARY, UNBELIEVABLE, AMAZING ADVENTURE OF A LIFETIME!

I know you guys must be fed up of my use of these same few words throughout our blog but the reality is these are the words that describe our trip. In fact there isn’t even a word in the dictionary that encompasses our whole experience on LUSH these past two years. We sang a couple of songs to the ocean that evening and I shed a whole load of tears in my husbands arms, my captain who has taken me and this magnificent yacht safely through 38,000 miles of the worlds oceans.


The one thing that kept running through my mind, as the sun finally set was,

“Did I APPRECIATE it all enough?”

Did I appreciate this massive opportunity Eddie and Marie gave us to sail this mighty yacht around the world?

Did I appreciate my fellow crew & my loving husband & skipper enough?

Did I appreciate this wonderful super yacht and all the skilled craftsmen in Oyster Yachts Southampton who built her?

Did I appreciate my amazing galley?

Did I appreciate being part of the outstanding Oyster Rally? All the new friends and islanders we met? My trips to the market? All the sun rises and sets? All the beaches, palm trees, pristine waters and wonderful marine life?

The list goes on…

I had a massive realisation there and then, I thought, “I wonder when you’re at the stage where your life on earth is finally through, will you ask yourself that same question “did I APPRECIATE it all enough?”

Not the question of whether you did enough, had enough or even whether you were enough but just whatever life you’ve had will you wonder whether you appreciated it all?


It was after midnight when I arrived back on deck for my final night watch. With a lot less crew onboard we’d been running single-man night watches for a while now and I thoroughly enjoyed that time to myself.  We’ve always been strict on LUSH about not reading or having any distractions while on watch. It’s a perfect time to sit and be still, looking out to sea and up to the stars and on this moonless night they shone brighter than ever. I honestly didn’t want my watch to end. In the morning we would be in France and this was my last time alone with LUSH, the mighty LUSH, our Santa sleigh that magically brought us across the globe over the past 22months. With tears rolling down my face I thanked God and the Universe for guiding us safely through 5 oceans around this enormous planet of ours and looking out beyond the milky way to millions and billions of galaxies I had that chat with the night sky wondering like we all do at times “What’s it all about?”


I don’t have the answer to that question but what I can say here and now is


One Life… Live it and most importantly, APPRECIATE IT!


Appreciate every little bit of it wherever you are, whatever you are doing or whomever you are with, just appreciate it. You won’t have it forever. Change is inevitable.  Life moves on. Paul & I aren’t going too far, we might not be on LUSH but we will be here on this blog for a long time to come.

Lots of love,

Audrey xxx



What Next?

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Next blog is on “Packing Up & Final Farewell”, stayed tuned for this next week.

My beloved Captain has a few words to share with you all too!


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Just 2 hours in Italy!

The Italian island of Sardinia is only about 25 miles from Corsica so we popped over to the famous port of Porto Cervo in the north of the island. The wind was howling through the Bonifacio straits as we sailed south and LUSH came into her usual own, cutting up the sea like Moses. It was one of those absolutely cracking sails on LUSH and we all relished it.

I was excited returning to Porto Cervo as this was where Paul and I won the Swan World Championships in 2008 on yacht ZEN, a fact we reminded everyone of about a million times that day! Porto Cervo is one of the world’s most luxurious villages with designer boutiques, luxury spas and fine restaurants galore. This is home to the exclusive Yacht Club Costa Smeralda host to some of the Mediterranean’s most prestigious annual regattas.

Arriving into the port it was obvious the place was dead. I popped ashore to do a food shop while Eddie, Marie and Alvie wandered around the town. Paul stayed on the yacht getting on with a few of his jobs with the intention of coming ashore later, however there was no ‘later’. Returning to LUSH, Eddie had seen enough. The place was just too quiet so there was nothing for it but to return to Corsica. A three hour sail back and LUSH was anchored up nice and snug in the stunning bay of Porto Vechio. Another day in the office with Eddie, we laughed.

One Life… Live it… even if it is just for a couple of hours!

Audrey 🙂 xx

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