It’s a very sad way to begin such a great voyage. Not that you would know from the ultra-effervescent Poppy Moore, mind you. So the chance to talk with her and learn her tale was fantastic, and she is also the best one to recount it. “I decided to sail around Australia to raise awareness and funds for Parkinson’s, because my father’s got Parkinson’s and his older brother died of Parkinson’s related illnesses. About two years ago my dad said could I actually do something to raise awareness and funds for Parkinson’s, not quite expecting the journey that I was about to undertake.”
“I actually think he hoped I’d do a cake raffle, but instead I decided I would combine my passions of sailing and cycling, and actually sail around Australia, fundraising as I go. Along the way I’m picking up people who can actually help fundraise and promote me on their social media to really get behind this.”
Her father is back in the UK, and wanted to see more of Australia. He and Poppy’s mum have been to Australia three times previously, and indeed wanted to emigrate, but Poppy’s dad is no longer able to travel himself, so she is doing it for them. “They thought Australia was an amazing country, so I thought the next best thing would be to take Australia to them using Face Time and Facebook. And they now get to meet all the crew, see all the destinations that I’m going to, and they get to explore Australia from their living room.”
Poppy bought her boat just on two years ago and has then spent a year and a half refitting her. “So I’ve learned a lot more about sailing yachts than I ever thought I’d need to. I’ve done engines, electrical, and things like water pumps to actually get her ready for this big journey, as well as preparing myself, which has actually been quite a large task.”
At the time of speaking with her during the Sanctuary Cove Boat Show, Poppy was around six weeks into it, and covered some 650nm. “It’s been absolutely fantastic. The support I’ve had along the way from all the sailing clubs and all the different people that I’ve met has been amazing.”
Just like everything that preceded this circumnavigation, Poppy had set herself some goals in terms of donations, but was more than well on the way, just six weeks into it. “Well, I’ve actually set myself a goal to raise $12,000, so effectively $1,000 for every month that I’m assuming it’s going to take me to get around. So far I’ve already raised $5,500 plus I’ve got some other things to auction off, which will actually bring me up well over halfway, which is fantastic.”
Now a lot of people too have helped her along the way with that. Pantaenius Sail and Motor Yacht Insurance have paid her insurance premium for the year, and there have been others that have jumped in, especially hearing about her story at the Sanctuary Cove and also the ASMEX Superyacht conference that preceded it. “Yes, they’ve been incredibly generous. The opportunity to speak and be at Sanctuary Cove through Pantaenius has been amazing, and it’s opened up so many doors. I’m really thankful for the opportunity they gave me. It meant I met Carl and Grant Amor from Aqualuma, who have actually given me some lights to auction off which have an RRP of $2500, so I’m hoping to get a really good price for those. Peter Staalsmid from Sevenstar Yacht Transport gave me a significant cash donation, as well.”
Carl Amor from Aqualuma presents Poppy with one of the lights he and brother Grant donated to her cause. © John Curnow
“I’ve also had Muir, who actually donated an anchor windlass at cost. Anchor Right who are also here, gave me the anchor for the boat. I’ve had MacDiarmid Sails who have actually done all the logos on the sails for me, and gave me a cut price on the sails and a trysail. Then there was also Beauty Boosters who have actually paid for a lot of the logos to make Scaramouch look fantastic. So yeah, it’s been a brilliant journey so far and people are being very generous and supportive.” Poppy has just departed the Gold Coast City Marina in Coomera with a new bimini that they have donated to her. Her next port of call is Mooloolaba.
In terms of her own sailing, you just learned that Poppy took a year and half to get Scaramouch ready, but the sailing bug started some time ago. “I actually started off sailing with the Balmain Sailing Club for the last 17 years in skiffs. I raced 12-foot and 16-foot skiffs, and Lasers. So to take on a yacht is a whole new experience, and she’s my first yacht. So it’s yeah, quite a different kettle of fish.”
“Scaramouch is an East Coast 31, and I found her at the CYCA in Sydney. I’ve also managed to meet up with all her ex-owners along the way, which has been brilliant, they’ve come on board and also been supportive as well. She’s an ideal seaworthy boat, small enough for me to single hand, but large enough and sturdy enough to take on this trip”, said Moore.
Poppy presenting at ASMEX, and happy to share that her skiff days were not all beer and skittles © John Curnow
Now you would not know you if you have never met Poppy, but do not be fooled by her diminutive stature, for she possesses an utterly ginormous heart and is supremely dedicated, riding away at every opportunity, as well. In terms of inspiration, other than her father, Poppy draws upon an article about a catamaran that circumnavigated Australia. “It just sounded like an absolutely fantastic thing to do, a great way to meet people, and see the country.”
“What I’m trying to do is meet people along the way who would like to help fundraise with me, and possibly come on for a leg of the journey. It could be one day, it could be a week, but I’m happy to have anyone who wants to come on. I can teach them how to sail, show them the ropes, how Scaramouch is all put together, and how to live on a yacht. And yeah, if they help fundraise, that would be amazing.”
Anyone wishing to make a contribution can do it through my Everyday Hero account, Scaramouch Parkinson’s. Poppy is only six weeks into her circumnavigation of our island, and you can be part of it. She needs crew from Hervey Bay to Airlie Beach. If it sounds like you, then check out Poppy’s Facebook page