Vicki Allen - The Cheshire boutique owner who sailed around the world
PUBLISHED: 09:51 15 December 2009 | UPDATED: 16:29 20 February 2013
The owner of a Cheshire boutique swapped the high street for the high seas on a six year trip around the world, as Paul Mackenzie reports
Her name is synonymous with quality clothes and a visit to her Hale boutique is an integral part of many women's shopping trips. But those who meet her in the shop may not realise that Vicki Allen is equally at home on the high street and the high seas.
She has recently returned to dry land after spending six years sailing round the world, visiting sun-soaked islands, battling storm force winds and trying to overcome her sea-sickness.
Vicki opened her Ashley Road store in 1991 and, with some experience of power boating, volunteered for two legs of a millennium celebration round the world yacht race. Her two stages took her across the Mediterranean and from Tahiti to Australia and she took home more than the memories and photographs her crew mates returned with.
On shore leave in the sun-soaked Caribbean she met her partner, a chap called Dave Bridge, from exotic, far-away Swinton. 'It was a long way to go to meet a man from Swinton,' she laughs.
'When we came back he went to the Southampton boat show and was raving about a boat he'd seen there. The Paris boat show coincided with my birthday so we went and saw the boat there and we agreed to buy it.'
'It took 18 months to build so we had time to discuss what to do. We were going to cross the Atlantic but then thought we may as well go round the world so that's we did. It took six years and we saw some wonderful places. It really was the stuff of dreams.
'We had terrible weather between Fiji and New Zealand and were struck by lightning in Thailand but on the whole we had some incredible experiences. The sea in the Bahamas was every shade of blue you can imagine and I just loved French Polynesia but if the wind got to 15 or 20 knots I just couldn't cope with the sea-sickness so I was dosed up on medication for that.
'After six years living on the boat I'm happy to be back on dry land and back in the shop again but in the future, who knows?'