Quick-fire questions with sailor and writer Kitiara Pascoe

KITIARA PASCOE, sailor, adventurer and writer, answers a round of our 'quick-fire questions'.

Kitiara Pascoe

Kitiara Pascoe pictured with her boyfriend Alex Francis. photo Mike Francis

What do you see as your biggest achievement in the last few years?


Sailing from the Bahamas to the Azores. While sailing from the Canaries to the Caribbean for a month was my first huge offshore voyage, the tradewinds made it quite predictable conditions.


Sailing west to east from the Bahamas was much tougher, with low pressure after low pressure. It had been playing on my mind for months, and reaching the Azores was a huge achievement for me.


What’s a sailing ambition you’d still like to accomplish?


I’d love to sail to Denmark and explore the islands around Copenhagen, maybe even continue up to Sweden and Finland.


What’s your favourite movie?


Birdman was incredible.


And Actor?


Jennifer Lawrence, she’s just so watchable.


And musician?


Sia. I saw her live ten years ago at a Zero 7 gig and she was bouncing around the stage with more energy than I have ever seen.


And author?


J.G Ballard, I could read his novels and short stories forever. But closely followed by A. M Homes and J. D Salinger – maybe I just love authors who use two initials.


If you had time to put your energy into another sport what sport would that be?


Skiing, I recently went to Austria and got to 103kph. It was exhilarating.


Where’s your favourite place to relax?


In a really great shower.


Tell us about a really embarrassing moment?


After sailing 18,000 miles, I arrived in Dartmouth and my dad came to visit. I was taking him back to shore in my dinghy but I hadn’t been anywhere with large tides for a very long time. There was a man on the quay watching us when I accidentally steered us to a shallow area and caught the dinghy propeller in the mud. I cut the engine and me and my dad tried to paddle canoe-style to the jetty. I looked like a total amateur and this man started shouting unhelpful advice. I was so embarrassed that I’d made such a rookie mistake.


Apparently he said to my dad, ‘well it doesn’t matter if she ruins the prop, I guess daddy will buy her a new one.’ And my dad said, ‘err….no. I’m her dad and she pays for everything herself, she’s just sailed to Central America and back.’ The man was gobsmacked.


St Lucia

Kitiara pictured sailing in St Lucia.

What do you love most about the internet?


That you can learn anything, especially from YouTube. I taught myself to play ukulele from YouTube tutorials and it’s great for hearing real pronunciations when you’re learning other languages.


Which athlete’s inspiring life story has had the biggest impact on you?


Ellen MacArthur. I first read her original book when I was a teenager, so long before I ever sailed or had an interest in sailing. Her experiences racing in the southern ocean sounded mind-blowing back then, but now I’ve actually experienced ocean passages, I cannot even imagine how she achieved what she has done.


In the southern ocean she had to climb her 30m mast to fix something twice and I tried to do a similar thing across the Atlantic. I got to about 2m off the deck and the motion was so horrific, there was no way I could cling on. And I had my partner with me, Ellen was sailing solo.


What’s your best characteristic?




And worst habit?




If you could order any three-course meal what would it be?


First course: lobster. Main course: any curry from Rick Stein’s India cookbook. Dessert: chocolate mousse.


If you had to get stuck in an elevator with someone who would that person be?


An elevator engineer with a toolkit. Failing that, my partner; we’re used to being in small spaces together.


What’s your most used curse word?


Fuck – it’s very multipurpose.


What are you most afraid of?


The words, ‘increasing gale force 8 to severe gale force 9’


What makes you happiest?


Getting into bed at anchor after being at sea for more than a few days.


What one word would you use to describe your last three years of sailing?





To find out more about Kitiara’s sailing adventure and to read her blogs visit www.theliterarylifeboat.com.

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