Wimbledon grandmother takes on year-long yacht race
A self proclaimed "dotty old granny" has embarked on an around the world yacht race so she can tick it off her bucket list.
After scaling Peru's Machu Picchu and tackling Africa's tallest Mount Kilimanjaro, you would expect 73-year-old Gil Sharpe to be sipping tea not tackling the rough sea, but this week she set off on the 40,000 mile Clipper Race.
Mrs Sharpe, of Princes Road, Wimbledon, will be on board for three legs of the year-long journey - the first leg from Cape Town, South Africa, to West Australia, then to Sydney and the famous Sydney Hobart Race before heading on to Brisbane.
The final leg, which the grandmother-of-two will also endure, will bring the Great Britain team home from New York via Northern Ireland and Holland.
It is a long way from her career playing in the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, where she became its first female violinist.
The "most mature" female in the race, said: "I have wanted to learn to sail for a long time now and ten year ago my dentist said I should try out this clipper race. This year I thought it was now or never.
Training was rigorous and very difficult. I have sailed before but nothing which would prepare me for this. The first three weeks training were intense, but then I started to get more confident and now I'm ready to go."
"I've been to Antarctica and that changed my life. I think this will be a life changer for however long I have got left."
The race started in London on September 1 by Tower Bridge and will finish next July after 11 months and 40,000 miles of racing.
It is the world's longest ocean race and only event of its kind for amateurs.
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