Getting caught in a squall off the Berkeley shore is one of the most dangerous moments of my career. The ocean can be challenging, but it’s land that poses a bigger threat to any vessel.

I learned many lessons and gained confidence from the experience.

Bolinas and back…goodness me. I am exhausted just by the memory having thrown sleep deprivation into the mix.

Rowing 30 miles to Half Moon Bay – at 16hrs non-stop, a longer epic than I was hoping for – was a proper adventure with the added fun of friends waiting for me at the end. 

Enduring it seems, leads to endurance; jeopardy to resilience. 

Lia on ice

My lowest point when I felt I couldn’t row another stroke was in fact not a low point at all. Defeated by the afternoon breeze, I called the Corinthian YC with a tone of desperation. ‘Come in. Dock anywhere you see a space’ said the harbor master. Half an hour later I was sitting on a bag of ice thanks to bartender Shakespeare and washing down a chocolate shake. 

Happiness is kinship. 

A two-day shoot with Discovery Channel elevated my endeavor on the international stage and a 6-pager in the September issue of Latitude 38 (p86 onwards) had a big impact locally. In a matter of days, I went from anonymously rowing around the bay, to feeling like I was part of the bay community. ‘Hello Lia!’ ferry drivers shouted down from their wheelhouses. Sailing crews threw up their arms in support and even the Coast Guard cutters honked and waved. 

Some mornings I rowed topless. I figured that if anyone saw me and it brightened up their Monday (to pass a mermaid in a rowboat) they were welcome. 😀

2,450 postcards handed out in the UK, US, Japan
1,320 hours of visibility while rowing in the bay of San Francisco
5 min 37s live National TV
6 min 07s on-demand TV (Discovery Channel)
12 news articles online
4 printed magazine features, including the cover of Yachtsman Magazine (USA)
3 newspaper articles


In total I gave:

13 presentations in
4 different countries


‘I want to gain 15lbs!’ said no woman ever. I managed to stick on:

8 lbs (hopefully all muscle)

I no longer fit any of the clothes I started the year with. 🙁


But in 2017 I was exactly where I wanted to be doing exactly what I wanted to be doing and for that I am enormously grateful.


In particular to –

Simon Woodroffe founder of YO! for taking the risk of being my first backer
Databarracks & InFlux Marketing data-recovery for seeing the bigger picture that educating children is the most meaningful ROI
London Speaker Bureau for believing in me when you have so many other amazing speakers
Kenzen for wanting to make history in wearable tech and with me
Ocean Racing sunglasses, for thinking of sailors first and making money second because you only get one pair of eyes
PainsWessex pyrotechnics I hope never to use, but know they could save my life if I need them
Spinlock lifejacket, ‘people in the boat, water out of the boat’ simple!
Switlik liferaft, for allowing me to pack more chocolate because my liferaft is the smallest lightest raft in the world
Ocean Signal rescue beacons, the life line I hope I never need, but trust with my life
Spectra watermaker, without water we die, I wouldn’t want to leave shore with any other brand
Canvas Works because quality of life is important
World Clinic my virtual crew member

Thank you to all the yacht clubs and marinas who have allowed me a cat-door arrangement of ad-hoc docking.

Thank you to my AMAZING team –

Dr Aenor Sawyer for your professionalism, enthusiasm and friendship
Dr Michael Gervais for showing me the pathway to being the best version of myself
Michael Gale for continuing to guide me towards making this the greatest expedition of the decade!
Chris Talley for solving the mystery of my nutrition deficiencies
Brendon Rearick for giving me the tools to train my way to success
Mike Lord for realignment and listening
Charlie Reid for variety and fine-tuning the process of ‘meat sculpting’ me in the gym
Travis Johnson for your patience and thoroughness during my first experience of being coached
Setsuko for being my fairy godmother in Japan. Master plan coming soon!
Jenn Heflin for friendship and photography
Dr John Shepherd & En Liu at UCSF for fun in the sports science lab!
Mike & Jeanine for backup with the ‘yellow boat’ Protector
Mike & Annalise for soft furnishings and friendship
SFYC for hosting me at your club
Kevin Burns for great muscle relief
Naimah Madden for your magic FST skills and putting me back together every Friday
Dr Glenn Fox for expanding my potential with your fresh approach


Above all, thank you to my followers, friends and family. Your encouragement and enthusiasm is marvellous.

Best wishes to you all for 2018!!!

Let’s row on.