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Alex’s Rolex Sydney To Hobart Race

30 October 2007

Some people might think a leisurely weekend trip sailing from Dover to Calais on a P&O ferry should be enough for an exciting day out.  Some people however have different ideas!  And that’s why Alex Cooper will be racing in the famous Boxing Day race from Sydney to Hobart (Australia) whilst raising funds for Sail 4 Cancer.

On 5 December this bubbly Lancashire lass is off to Sydney to take on one of the worlds most gruelling yacht races – the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.

She will be part of a 12 strong crew (and the only female crew member) sailing aboard Arctos, a 55ft cutter rigged McIntyre, aiming both to raise money for Sail 4 Cancer and to use her lifelong love of boats to get her teeth and zest for life into something positive and challenging.

Alex explained:

“I have been messing about on boats since a toddler on my grandfather’s yacht on Lake Windermere, a keen water skier since the age of 12 and for the past 11 years, regularly boating in the South of France and Lake Windermere. So ok, I confess to having been a fair weather sailor – most of my time led bikini clad on the foredeck, tearing away on a French baguette with the occasional galley slave duty and cleaning of the heads!” (toilet to all non sailors!)

But my passion and desire to convert from motor yachting to sails and my desire to turn my hobby into a true challenge, led me to take my Day Skipper at the beginning of the year in the British Virgin Islands and Scotland. Then I gained my first taste of race experience in the Cowes Regatta in August. Now I can’t wait to take the plunge and sink or swim, tackling the summit of the sport ? referred to as the “Everest” of yacht races.”

Alex CooperThree weeks of intensive training starts in Sydney on 7 December, including a two-day safety and sea survival course and a 200 nautical mile offshore race as pre-entry requisites.  This will also allow a couple of days off on the beach in Sydney for Christmas but there will be strictly no alcohol or mince pies as Alex is in training!

The race starts on Boxing Day, with thousands of spectators traditionally coming out to see off the yachts, cannons firing, helicopters buzzing overhead and hundreds of other boats cruising around the harbour supporting the send off.  Then it’s the 628 nautical mile slog, spread along five sleep-deprived days at sea, tackling the unpredictable natural and wild elements of gale force winds and lashing waves of the Tasman Sea, crossing the often treacherous Bass Straits and Storm Bay and steaming home up the Derwent River to Hobart and a celebratory New Years Eve welcome – hopefully!

You can follow Arctos’ progress by visiting www.rolexsydneyhobart.com where a GPS Tracker continuously plots the position of the yachts at sea.

“My challenge is nothing in comparison to the brave battle which cancer patients and their families face and I am sure this thought will spur me on. Not only for the cancer research funds provided but for the well needed respite and happy memories a fun day sailing can provide the patients and families – knowing how much enjoyment sailing has given to my girls and I over the years. Achieving funding to give something fun for others to do when they really need it, has kept the adrenaline buzzing in my training and preparations.

My mum Gillian, who is my biggest inspiration, has been battling with leukaemia, lupus and now Parkinson’s for years with nothing but a smile on her face and not a word of negativity. Thanks mum ? you’ve always been my “anchor and rock” through tough times. And I can always count on dad to bring a smile to my face and make us all laugh in any circumstance. As he would say: ‘Eh love as one door shuts – another one closes.

Alex and her daughtersMy daughters Hannah 18 and Megan 16 are showing amazing courage, by doing a 15,000ft sky dive to contribute to the fund raising for Sail 4 Cancer. I’m more nervous of them doing that! I could not be more proud of both my girls in who they are, everything they do and achieve and the enthusiastic spirit in which they do it. They are a dream and a delight.

Thank you so much to all the local businesses who have so kindly and generously given to Sail 4 Cancer and to all my friends and family who have given me so much help, support and encouragement involved in taking on this challenge of a lifetime for such a worthy cause”.

See you all back on terra firma in 2008 – I hope!  Think of me when watching the Miss Marple Xmas Special (repeat?!) and tucking into yet another turkey sandwich!”

Below is a message of support from Nigel a fellow sailor.

“She may have recently been a guest onboard my yacht in Barcelona but Alex Cooper is no passenger in life!  We all lead busy lives, Alex does too, a self-employed mum with two delightful girls to bring up but she still finds time, especially time for others!   Alex is determined to raise much needed funds for Sail 4 Cancer; paying her own way, she is to compete in what is something of a pinnacle for even experienced sailors. 630 miles of continuous sailing over 5 days, much of it in the unforgiving Southern Ocean, at present the only female in a crew of 12!

We all receive many approaches for donations but to meet Alex you would be up for giving- you really would. A breath of fresh air actually; enthusiastic, competent and a real natural on and off the water!  She got me thinking about my own contribution in life and we can’t just leave it to the Alex’s of this world can we. So come on, support this very motivated lady in such a worthy cause and help to make a ‘sea-change’ yourself!” Nigel

Please use the form below to send Alex your message of support and to sponsor her challenge.  Thank you!

(Campaign Now Closed)

Alex’s Rolex Sydney To Hobart Race
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