Croydon sailor ‘excited’ as she prepares to face the ‘Everest of the seas’

Worcester Park native Lizzy Foreman is determined to fulfil a lifelong dream by competing in the 2020 Vendée Globe round-the-world race.

Offshore sailor Foreman is currently deep in preparations for one of the world’s toughest sporting challenges, considered the ultimate test in ocean racing.

If successful, Foreman, 27, will be the seventh women and the fourth British female to compete in the challenge, which since the first race in 1989 has seen three sailors die and many abandon their boats.

Ahead of the race, which involves single-handedly racing around the world without assistance and is nicknamed ‘the Everest of the seas,’ Foreman said: “The most exciting thing would obviously be the fact that I finally made it to the start line after years of hard work.

“I’ve never sailed around the world – to get into the ocean and those amazing places that I’ve never had an opportunity to go is obviously extremely exciting.

“The scary thing is knowing that you’d be out there completely on your own and so far away from land,” she added.

Foreman is the only woman and one of the four sailors training on the Vendee2020Vision programme, which supports solo British sailors aiming to participate in the next Vendée Globe

‘’I got really hooked on the sport and wanted to go as far as I could with it and sailing solo around the world is as far as you can go,’’ she said.

Except for sailing, preparations to the race include improving meteorological and tactical knowledge, developing stamina, physical strength and endurance.

Foreman admitted that sailing solo requires a lot mental strength and trust in your own abilities.

“You can’t just call someone up and ask for a helping hand,“ she said.

As much as helicopters can be dispatched if the boat is close to the shore, in case of emergency far away from land help is much more limited and can come only from diverted cargo ships or other competitors.

Foreman said: “You put a lot of time into preparing the boat and know your boat inside out before you even start a race.

“All of this preparation helps you keep calm when things do go wrong and you find when you get into that situation you actually become very calm.

“It’s sort of after the incident that you get the shock,” she added.

During the race the boats pass close to ‘Point Nemo’ in the Pacific Ocean, the most isolated place on Earth and located closer to the International Space Station than to any inhabited landmass.

When asked about what occupies her thoughts while alone on the ocean, Foreman said: “There is a lot of to think about on a boat –  thinking ahead to the next stage, what you’re going to do with the weather, where you need to position the equipment on board, where you’re going to sleep.

“Obviously there are times when you’ve got a bit more time to chill out and you tend to contact your family, listen to music maybe, read a book.

“But it doesn’t last very long until you have to go back to thinking about the race and the boat,“ she added.

Foreman was introduced to sailing at the age of six by her mother who owned a small topper dinghy called ‘Sprint’ and continued to develop her skills on a reservoir on the outskirts of London.

“We didn’t have the yachts to sail on the sea, we didn’t ever do sailing holidays – it was quite a big challenge to get into big boat sailing,’’ she said.

At the age of 20 Foreman was selected for the Artemis Offshore Academy based on the Isle of Wight, which gave her first opportunity to try the Mini 6.50 and Figaro yachts.

In 2015 she became the first British sailor to finish in her class in the Mini Transat 2015, racing solo across the Atlantic over a total of 27 days at sea in a boat just 21-foot-long.

Lizzy Foreman is part of the Christopher Ward Challenger Programme, which aims to support up-and-coming sportsmen and women achieve their ambitions.

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