Many families have been touched with mental health challenges and so has mine.
I was running from depression when I went to buy Caprice. I needed to fill my life with travel and adventure at the time when I was adjusting to empty nest syndrome.
Some significant situations have occurred in recent years that have confirmed that we are on the right path. We spend our time and energy raising mental health awareness within our most 'at risk' community, our First Responders and Frontline Healthcare workers. We share our love of sailing to bring others health and happiness.
The Caprice chapter of my life story began when my son came to me at age 15 and said “I want to move in with Dad”. I knew it was the right thing for him. By experiencing family life full time, where he lives with a Dad, Mum, and two brothers (step and half), he would get to understand the joys and compromises of family life in a way I couldn’t give him as a single mum.
But I knew it was going to hurt like hell. I wanted him to be able to settle into this new chapter of his life without feeling pulled back and forth, so we decided together, that for the next year, I should follow my two passions of sailing and travel, with him visiting whenever possible.
Travel had been a big part of our lives together as I had taken him to a different country each year, to explore culture, meet new people and broaden our minds. Now I would fill my life with community and adventure to escape the depression of the empty nest that I knew was coming.
So 12 months later, in 2016, his Dad's house renovation was complete. He had his own room and a pool.. he was excited and happy and moved in.
I sold my house and flew from Australia to New York to purchase my new floating home, Caprice. I knew I needed a great captain and crew to teach me everything I didn’t know about sailing (which was everything about sailing) and I embarked on this huge learning curve.
12 months turned to 24 months as I quickly learnt that to live your dream comes with extreme challenges (there’s a book in there).
June 2018 after enduring a boat refit, hurricane Irma, and a summer back in Australia working to save more money, I’d finally gathered my dream team of sailors (enter Captain: Gordon Buchan and Crew: Fiona, Dean & Brian).
And on my third attempt, we sailed out of the USA for a 6 month trip getting Caprice to her new home in Australia.
Like all start up ventures, the last two years have been challenging while I planned and implemented the pilot program for our crowd-funded social enterprise: Sailing Lifts Your Spirits.
It is a sailing program that introduces a pathway into sailing for our First Responder community for the proven wellbeing benefits. Sailing is an adventure sport that gets you out into nature, gets you active and connects you with a new, eclectic community of sailors, all helping to build Resilience for some of our most ‘at risk’ community.
My son is doing incredibly well and is studying Osteopathy.
Our program has been incredibly well received in Melbourne so we are super excited to see where this chapter goes.
After working in technology and computing for over 35 years, I decided that I'd had enough of being indoors every work day and decided to focus on my passion for sailing. Having already sailed in countless races around Port Phillip, many Bass Strait races and a few Sydney to Hobarts, I decided to formalise my sailing and completed my YachtMaster Offshore Skipper, Commercial Endorsement and Cruising Instructor qualifications.
From my experience of yacht racing around the spectacular Whitsundays, I realised that I am definitely drawn to warm weather sailing and so when the opportunity to sail from Florida to Australia on a beautiful boat like Caprice came up, it didn't take me long to sign on. From the Bahamas via the Dominican Republic to Panama was a pretty good sea trial of Caprice and I was confident the we were ready for the 5000 Nm long stretch from Panama to Tahiti non-stop. After a short break for provisioning and a couple of boat jobs, Caprice then carried us from one tropical paradise to another: Papeete to Bora Bora, Fiji, Noumea and then finally into Australia at Southport. Just a couple of weeks later we sailed into our home port, Melbourne, only 1 day under 6 months after dropping lines in Fort Pierce, FL. Now I'm really happy to be sharing Caprice with a new crew every week. Telling some sea stories to some of the bravest and hard working people I know, and hoping that they might pick up the passion and see sailing as a way of helping to stay healthy in every aspect of life.
Caprice is a 52ft performance cruising yacht that was custom designed and built in Finland for Pekka Herlin, an enthusiastic sailor and the previous principal owner of global Finnish elevator company KONE.
When launched in 1996 she was a $1,500.000USD build with state of the art features throughout. A beautifully balanced vessel and a joy to sail and share with our community.
If you align with our purpose and would like to be involved, then we welcome you!
Join our amazing community of supporters now to help us grow our Charity and build our Bursary Fund to subsidise sailing courses for our First Responders & Healthcare workers.