Monthly Archives: April 2015

Nikki Curwen vs the Mini En Mai

Nikki Curwen - Mini en Mai

The time has come for Nikki Curwen to set sail at the Mini en Mai!

The Mini en Mai is only on it’s second edition, but despite being a new race to the Mini calendar it is proving very popular with just under 60 people entered – all racing solo. The race is 500 miles long, which follows one of two courses depending on the wind, and is likely to take around 4 to 5 days to complete.

Both courses start and finish in La Trinite, France. The first is a coastal route, going up through the Raz de Sein, a very tidal and narrow passage, down, through and under the bridge across to Ile de Rhe, near La Rochelle then returning to La Trinite.

The second course is more offshore, heading across the Bay of Biscay down to the Spanish coast, rounding a mark and heading back again.

Fresh from the Pornichet Select, we asked Nikki what’s she’s been doing to prepare for the Mini en Mai;Nikki Preparing Boat

The first two races of the season have been quite manic in preparation getting everything together. There has been a bit of a gap this time, which has given me time to add a few new upgrades to the boat, including a new autopilot.

Sailing solo, the autopilot is the most vital bit of kit on board, while “George” (as I call him) is steering I can sleep/eat/adjust the sails while the boat continues to sail. My current pilot is connected on deck, I have to attach it to the tiller, and then before/after/during press the button to activate the system. My new pilot will be connected all the time with a clutch, which is released when it’s not in use. This means I can just press a button to activate it, and not worry about trying to line it up and attach it at the same time.

As one of the many solo races Nikki will be competing in this year, we had to ask…what items will you be taking that you can’t live without?

I have no absolute musts I have to take, although music is a key necessity for me when sailing by myself. There’s always a song to keep you motivated and high-spirited.
King Louis ( my new mascot ) is one thing which hasn’t left the boat since I’ve become Go Aped! King Louis is a cuddly toy from the Jungle Book, with his Velcro hands he hangs around the boat to keep me company.

Keep an eye on Nikki’s progress at the Mini en Mai here, each competitior will be tracked as they take on the challenging courses. Alternatively, if you fancy a go at competing in the Mini en Mai why not compete using the Virtual Regatta game where you can create your own boat and race Nikki around the course!

Why We Want You To Discover Adventure!

Discover The Great Outdoors

‘Live Life Adventurously’ has been our motto since day one.

Ever since Tris and Becs had the idea for Go Ape back in 2002, our vision has remained the same: to create adventure and encourage everyone to live their lives more adventurously.

You’ve got to practice what you preach, right? Well, it’s fair to say that the Go Ape tribe live, eat and breathe adventure. We get a kick out of living life adventurously, but we get an even bigger kick out of helping YOU to live your life more adventurously. For many of you, this starts with experiencing one of our Tree Top Adventure courses.

Yes, there will always be one or two naysayers. The “I’m-not-the-adventurous-type” folk. But, to those people we say that ‘an adventurous type’ simply does not exist! Anyone and everyone can live life adventurously. Trust us.

Adventure doesn’t need to involve traveling the world, climbing mountains or partaking in extreme sports. Adventure can be found in the everyday; it’s about leaving that ever-restricting comfort zone of yours and trying something new.

Here are some of the reasons why we want you to discover adventure:

You’ll learn things about yourself

Being adventurous will help to unearth all those previously undiscovered skills and talents of yours. You might learn that you’ve got a knack for climbing after taking on one of our tree-top obstacle courses, for instance; or, you may find that you’re an excellent leader after guiding your tribe through the forest on board our Segways.

You’ll surprise yourself

To be able to discover adventure, you need to believe in yourself. You need rid of that “can’t do” mind-set and adopt the “can do” one instead!

Another motto we live by is ‘zero risk equals zero development.’ If you don’t test and push yourself, you’ll never know what you’re capable of. However, discover adventure and you will be constantly surprised at what you are able to achieve. And this will help you to feel more confident in your own potential.

You’ll feel great

Being adventurous is all about getting out there, meeting new people, visiting new places and trying new things. Adventure will enrich your life and help you to feel more fulfilled. And with that new ‘can do’ positive outlook on life, you’re bound to feel great.

You’ll inspire others

Our aim is to inspire others to live life adventurously. Once we’ve inspired you, hopefully you will go on to inspire others! Living adventurously is contagious; if people see you having a great time, they’re going to want in on the action!

So, are you ready to discover adventure?

Or why not help inspire others to discover adventure? Submit your story and you could be in with a chance of winning an adventurous family holiday with Mark Warner. Find out more here.

An adventure over 26.2 miles


Charlotte, one of the marketing monkeys, embarked on her biggest adventure to date last Sunday.

Here she tells her story…

The marathon is a word that if you say quickly and you don’t think too much about, it seems like just another box to tick.

I’m always up for a challenge but when I embarked on my marathon journey I never thought that it would take over so much of my world in its build up.

There’s a hype surrounding that 26.2 mile run that you don’t quite realise until you become part of it.

It started out last summer when I opened an email to say ‘you’re in!’ That in itself is quite an achievement. I then planned how I was going to raise thousands in sponsorship money and got organising quizzes, tea parties and all sorts. It’s an amazing feeling knowing that people are behind you on your journey – it really didn’t go unrecognised.

The hours spent training.

I can safely say that there were many cold, wet and windy mornings when I would rather have been in bed – not putting in the miles on the road!

The week build up.

The week leading up to the marathon was a rollercoaster of emotion, I just wanted to get there in one piece. The slightest niggle saw me go to pieces, I had moments when I thought I’d forgotten how to run and I lost any ability to cope with normal tasks. You don’t want to let people down – and that takes over. I was not fun to be around in the days leading up to the 26th April… so I apologise, maranoia really does set in.

The 26th April.

I was strangely calm – nothing else that can be done. As I walked to the start from Greenwich (…that adds another mile to the day!) I found that you become everyone’s friend and I loved that. It’s London at it’s best.

At the start.

There’s a strange mix of nerves and excitement before you cross the line and you just want to start running to put those long months of training to the test. You settle into a rhythm and try not to think about how far there is to go. But of course, that’s all you can think about!

It wasn’t until I reached mile 11 that I recognised anyone. A familiar face lifts you through the next mile. Through mile 13 – 15 I saw lots of friendly faces and I felt good – the crowds and the noise that they create won’t ever leave me.

The wall (I’d heard a bit about this).

It hit me like a tonne of bricks. At mile 17 my tank was on empty and I worried that I still had 9 miles to go … from then it was an uphill struggle. There were moments when I wanted to sit down and cry – I repeated the moto ‘Pain is temporary, Pride is permanent’ over and over between mile 17 and 21. It was actually more painful to walk than run so I pushed on. The peaks and troughs of the marathon are undeniable.

Every time I saw my wonderful friends and family I was carried a bit further and then it was the home straight. The feeling when I reached mile 24 was worth it – I knew I could finish. So, I picked myself up and forced my legs step by step to the finish. And then with 800m to go (a very welcome sight!) I saw my Dad, a totally unexpected surprise and we even managed a high five!

The day is crazy. The crowds make it. Running is for all, the marathon proves just that. If you want it enough then you’ll get to the finish… and if you finish you deserve to wear your medal with pride – it proves you’re tougher than the average person.
I’m so proud to say I’ve raised over £2,500 for Teenage Cancer Trust and I’ll never forget the day and that feeling as I crossed the finish line.

It will stay with me forever – and that’s what adventures are all about.

When Did You First Discover Adventure?


Adventure. It’s great, isn’t it? As you’ve probably guessed, we Go Ape folk are big on adventure, and not just because it’s part of our job. We’re always looking for ways we can get our next fix, from organising mini, weeknight adventures with our pals, to spending a few weeks scaling a mountain or two (or three).

We love those daring, heart-pumping, butterflies-in-the-stomach-inducing adventures. The ones where you start off thinking, “Why am I doing this?” and then finish thinking, “Why didn’t I do this sooner?!”

At the risk of sounding a little clichéd, living life adventurously is a lot like opening a tube of Pringles – once you pop… well, you know the rest. Adventure is addictive and we’re well and truly hooked. Are you?

When it comes to living life adventurously, everyone’s got to start somewhere – even the world’s most-celebrated adventurers were amateurs once. And for many people, it’s that very first adventure that is the most memorable, whether it took place two weeks, two months or two years ago.

What we want you to do is cast your mind back to the very first time you discovered adventure. This might be the first time you camped out with friends, the first time you braved off-piste skiing, or the first time you white-water rafted. It might be the first time you mingled with the locals in a foreign country or took-up a thrill seeking hobby.

Whatever your first adventure was, there’s no doubt you remember exactly how you felt in the run-up to it. All the excitement, mixed with nerves and anticipation – trying to steady your wobbling knees, while taking deep breaths to slow your racing heart rate.

The Feeling of AdventureAnd then, how you felt after your adventure. The “I did it!” kind of buzz you get as your knees stop trembling, the adrenaline starts to wane and your pulse rate starts to slow. That feeling is pretty incomparable, right?

A life lived adventurously is a life better lived. Why? Well, it encourages people to get out there – to try new things, visit new places and meet new people. It inspires you to push yourself to the limits to see what you’re really capable of. Adventure is everywhere, and it’s waiting for you to come and find it. (Who knows, maybe a trip to Go Ape will be where it all begins!)

So, it’s time to inspire others! We want you to reignite those memories of your first adventure and be an inspiration to us all. And, if you need an incentive, we’ve certainly got one: how does an adventurous family holiday to Corsica with Mark Warner sound?

To be in with a chance of winning, we want you to inspire others to live by the Go Ape ethos (which is to live life adventurously!). You might choose to share a story about your very first adventure, your latest adventure, or you could even describe that feeling you had when you did something amazingly adventurous. You’ve got just 250 characters… Good luck!

When did you first #DiscoverAdventure?

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