Daisy Cobden and her crew are seeking to further their sailing prowess aboard Helix while having fun with friends along the way.
Cobden first got into sailing through her partner, Jordan MacNeil, who was already an active and passionate sailor who shared his love of the water with Cobden. The two of them began sailing on his J/30 Flux nine years ago. MacNeil owned Flux for 13 years before he and Cobden upgraded to their J/120 Helix last year.
Since she started sailing with MacNeil, the duo has taken to competing in races such as Chester Race Week and the Convoy Cup. To help them in their sailing exploits, the pair recruited their friend group to help aboard Helix.
“Our crew are our friends. We recruited them, and they became our team,” said Cobden. “Not many of them came from the sailing world. Most of our crew learned from Jordan, like myself.”
Cobden, MacNeil and their friends practice on Monday nights as well as Wednesday Night Races out of the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron (RNSYS) to prepare themselves for any upcoming races.
“Monday night, we take the crew out and we change up the jobs and roles so everyone gets to learn the different tasks on the boat,” said Cobden.
Cobden, MacNeil and crew have been practicing with a new goal in mind for 2025 — competing in the Marblehead to Halifax race. The biennial ocean race would be the longest course the crew has competed in, clocking in at over 360 nautical miles. Currently, the crew of Helix are practicing and preparing themselves for the race along with their boat, which needs to be brought up to offshore racing standards.
“We would need certain safety requirements in preparation for Marblehead. It’s quite an expensive race, so we would need to start funding for that, get the crew used to the equipment and start training in preparation,” said Cobden.
Currently, the crew of Helix are saving money from their own pockets to fund their entry into the Marblehead to Halifax race. Cobden, however, has begun to foster a social media presence on Facebook and Instagram to raise awareness of their goals in hopes of finding a sponsor for their 2025 aspirations.
“Marblehead is a very expensive race, so that is our end goal — to gain a sponsorship,” said Cobden. “Every couple years, it’s ideal to replace the sail if you can. That is the end goal, as well, and that takes quite a bit of funding to make that happen. So, our goal is to search for a sponsorship for Marblehead and any sailing moving forward.”
While the crew of Helix almost sealed a sponsorship deal for their racing endeavours, it fell through due to timing. Cobden has since doubled down on social media in hopes that the right person will come along and help their dreams of participating in Marblehead come true.
Whether Cobden, MacNeil and their friends manage to secure sponsorship and get to participate in the 2025 Marblehead to Halifax or not doesn’t change one thing they have going for them — the fun they have together on the water as both crewmates and good friends.
“At the end of the day, we’re happy to be together. We’re happy to learn from each other. We’re happy to grow and to have the opportunity to race on this gorgeous boat we got,” said Cobden. “That’s what keeps everyone coming back every Wednesday night from the first week of May until October.”
Photos supplied by Daisy Cobden