The Four of Us

Updated: Jan 7

I was born in 1982, Pretoria, South Africa, which makes me the oldest member of the One Ocean Crew. Four years later (and 12,946km north) in 1986, Emily stepped into the world in Guildford, England. Three years later (and 393km to the east) in 1989, Jen joined the party of life in Brussels, Belgium, followed by Erin who also made her grand entrance also in 1989 (but 757km back west again), in Truro, Cornwall, England.

Our Skipper, medical and performance lead, Jen, is a Physiotherapist with GB and England Hockey, supporting elite athletes to prepare for the Tokyo Olympics in 2021. Lucky for us, she has experience in rowing and she has competed in endurance sports including rowing the Boston Marathon (yes rowing! It’s in Lincoln, UK and is 49.2km), Triathlons and Half Ironman competitions!

Erin, our Navigation lead (no pressure!) is a kayaking & wilderness expedition guide, with a wealth of experience in leading expeditions worldwide. She has worked in the outdoors since she was 15, and clearly loves it! She is equally at home in both the mountains, and on the sea. Which makes me believe this adventure will be a walk in the park for her.

Emily, our Logistics and Nutrition lead is a landscape architect with a passion for the environment and designing spaces that increase people’s connection with nature. She absolutely loves being on the water (no joke!), be it sailing, kayaking or windsurfing. Other than being an avid crossfitter, Emily sailed more than 20,000 miles from the UK to Australia during the 2017-18 Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, where her team was placed second overall! She will be no stranger to sleep deprivation and salty food (no matter how much sugar you add!).

Then you have me, JP (purely because most english speaking people tend to call me Janet, and it really is Yanette), the Technical lead. I’m a corporate investigator, specialising in data and technology. I love being outdoors and taking on challenges. I’ve climbed several summits (aiming for 6 ½ out of The Seven), enjoy Alpine Climbing and similar to Emily, took part in the 2017-18 Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, sailing (only) 13,007 miles from Uruguay to, and around, Australia. Even though our time in the race overlapped, we never actually met.

As you can see, by birth and chosen professions, the four of us had no link, but our upbringings, our life experiences, our life choices and our dreams brought us here - together - preparing to row across the Atlantic!

I remember a 30th birthday card that read: “Your 30s are when life is the perfect cocktail… ½ youth & ½ maturity, sprinkled with dashes of freedom, served on a plate of responsibility!”. Here we are. The four of us. Women in our 30s who have chosen to celebrate our blend of youthfulness and maturity, who are taking full advantage of our freedom while focussing on our responsibility to ourselves, our loved ones, each other and our planet!

Our team dynamics and foundation, that is built on trust and respect, makes it so easy to say YES, yes to swimming in ice cold waters, yes to getting up at 5am for meet-ups, yes to creative activities to raise awareness for our campaign and our chosen charity. The epic adventure of rowing across the Atlantic has already given me three inspiring girlfriends that have pushed me and challenged me to be a better version of myself, but more importantly taught me how much more I can do for our planet. We still have a lot to learn and a lot to achieve before our race starts, but we sure will get there with our perfect cocktail :)