Transatlantic challenge for Harrogate girl

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ARC Europe crosses the Atlantic in several stages.

A former Harrogate schoolgirl has completed her first transatlantic yacht rally – and finished in second place.

Philippa Magee, 23, and her husband Jay were on the crew of Sookie for the Arc Europe Rally from the British Virgin Islands.

The former Harrogate Grammar School pupil, whose maiden name was Thackeray, said: “My family could track where we were on the internet.

“My mum would tell anyone who would listen about our progress! Normally they just have to wait until we finish.”

The couple were joined by the yacht’s owner and a fourth crew member as they completed the race, finishing second as they sailed into Lagos.

Despite the success, sailing was not something which Philippa had seen as a career option when she was at school in Harrogate.

“It’s not something they teach you about at school!” she said.

Instead, she enrolled on a PR and marketing degree at Leeds Metropolitan University when she was 18, but found it wasn’t right for her and dropped out. She wanted to do something more practical and interesting, but wasn’t sure where to look.

“I had done a ski season as a chalet girl and came back and I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life,” she said.

Then she met sailing instructor Jay and was captivated by the world of sailing.

The couple have just set up their own international yacht delivery company, taking boats around the world for their owners. It’s an unusual job, but Philippa is confident there will be plenty of demand.

“Some are brand new boats from the factory floor, some people don’t want to do the long crossing themselves – there are all sorts of reasons why people might want our help,” she said. “We’re also working as skippers and stewards too.”

Philippa said she was looking forward to a busy season ahead and the exciting career she had hoped for.