​Meet the Crew: Joanna Mann

17 January 2020

Team: Punta del Este

Leg: 4

Hometown: Cheltenham

Nationality: British

Occupation: Lighting Designer

“In our normal lives you get quite comfortable and this will be a real experience of being in a situation that I’ve never been close to being in before.” Those were the words of Joanna Mann before she left Fremantle on a 4,000 nautical mile challenging race to the Whitsundays.

With very little sailing experience, unless a dinghy sailing course 30 years prior counts, Jo described why she decided to take on the epic challenge. She said: “It was the right time to have a change of scene and a break, a celebration of a personal achievement of having a business for ten years, so I thought it’d be good to mark the occasion.”

And whilst some may celebrate a milestone with a few drinks in the pub, Jo has enthusiastically described those she is marking the occasion with: “I have met so many different people - all different nationalities and ages, all with different wants and wishes for their own goals. It's a personal thing and brilliant being part of a team too.”

Upon her arrival into the Whitsundays, she reflected on the time spent with her team whilst experiencing extreme heat and thrilling weather conditions: “I’ve learned so much about the people on board - how lives can be led so differently, attitudes and what people are like at face value compared with underneath first impressions. Putting 16 people on a boat for three weeks is incredible, how you live together!”

And as a team, they endured some pretty testing conditions, on a route which negotiated rounding Tasmania, the troublesome south-going Australian current and up the east coast of Australia. Jo shared her most daunting time on board, saying: “On the third or fourth night it started to get rough and I thought ‘crikey, this might be quite frightening’. We were going further south and it was quite rough and dark. We were doing an evolution and it didn’t go smoothly, but you realise things go wrong and you work out how to fix them. We have been taught the lesson that ocean sailing is all about problem solving.”

IMAGE: Jo, on board in her favourite place -the galley - making bread

Following her adventure, she concluded: “I’m thrilled to bits I did it - I will take away huge benefits and life skills. It’s been a transforming experience.”

Time to leave the everyday behind and go on the adventure of a lifetime? Find out how to follow in Jo’s footsteps here.

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