WHILE the toughest thing many of us will do today is tear ourselves away from the Boxing Day buffet, spare a thought for Sue Ball.
The 57-year-old from Harrogate today sets off from Sydney Harbour with 1,000 other sailors in the world-famous Rolex Sydney to Hobart Race.
But it won’t take long to get her sea legs, as she set off from St Katherine Dock in London in August in the 40,000 mile Clipper Round the World yacht race - an 11-month navigation of the globe.
The Yorkshire Post last spoke to Mrs Ball in November, when she had just arrived in Cape Town, after a 16-day crossing from Rio. From there, it was on to Albany, Western Australia, and before Christmas, onto Sydney.
She said: “The last race was tougher than any of the others even though it was only 12 days long. We were beating up into the wind and bouncing around constantly but I still enjoyed it. We experienced a few big waves but that’s what you join for, the adrenaline rush. It was fantastic I am having a fabulous time.
“We set out on this leg of the race to move up the leaderboard and have had some pointing challenges this race. The fleet receives maintenance in every port we visit but it gets lifted here in Sydney for a major clean and MOT having raced halfway around the world so we can look at that then and hope to do better in the next race.”
Mrs Ball decided to embark on the challenge after selling her nursery in Killinghall - despite having no sailing experience.
“I do feel like I am a sailor now, I am probably blowing my own trumpet there but I knew nothing about sailing before I signed up to the race and now I have sailed more than 15,000 nautical miles,” she said.
“I am really excited about the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race on Boxing Day, I had never heard of it before but it is a really iconic race that people want to take part in so it will be a once in a lifetime.”
Christmas was spent “celebrating Australian style” with a barbecue on the beach with two friends holidaying in Australia.
The next landmark celebration during the year of adventure will be her birthday in May - which will be spent travelling between Seattle and the Panama Canal.