Hazel Richards is no stranger to adventure. She has completed a 62km / five glacier trek, camping on ice in Svalbard in 2010, stood at the centre of Antarctica, travelled through the Mongolia desert with NASA and completed cross country full marathons in Switzerland. However, Hazel is a novice sailor (although she has cruised across the Atlantic 3 times in style!).
She crewed the first leg of the POC (Bristol, UK to Murmansk, Russia) Here we ask her about her experience, and what it has meant to her.
Why did you decide to do this trip? To challenge myself swapping skis for sailing legs. I’ve never sailed for so long in a small boat.
How are you finding it? OK, although the cramped and confined conditions are difficult. You need to work as a team and be supportive of each other…always look at the positives in people and don’t labour the negatives. It’s good to talk…use opportunities with team to learn new ideas, thoughts and skills..listen carefully and ask questions to clarify understanding.
What has been the best part of the trip? Sailing through Fjords of Lofoten to Tromso, the people of Lerwick abd catching big waves whilst on deck.
What has been your biggest Challenge? Trying to negotiate the boat whilst in rocky waters!
Who have you met and what animals have you seen along the way? We had time to talk to the people of Lerwick who are very helpful and friendly, as are the Norwegians. In terms of wildlife, I’ve seen dolphins, puffins, lots of bird life, a sea otter and sea lion.
What are you most looking forward to about coming home? My bed! On Northabout I sleep in a coffin size space with little room to turn!
If you had the opportunity would you do something like this again? I like a challenge that tests me physically and so will go back to skis…this challenges you mentally as long constant days at see are sometimes hard if just horizon and no other stimulus…though I will now take up sailing!!
What advice would you give to anyone thinking of being an adventurer?
Seize every moment…make use of your time and never ever give up – even when you think you can’t keep going as you will pass through the doubting wall to achieve your goal or ask. Never say I wish I did something….make it happen and do it!