Each time Vicky Song was nearing the brink of collapse during her global circumnavigation, she told herself "Never Give Up" as she made this promise to her mother, who is struggling with liver cancer.
The 32-year-old Song, a crew member of the Yacht Qingdao in the 2013/14 Clipper Round the World Race, is attempting to become the first Chinese woman to complete round-the-world sail.
Starting the race from London on September 1 last year, 12 Clipper yachts now are sailing from Brisbane of Australia to Singapore and are expected to return to London in July.
There are many challenges in global sailing, like long high-intensity work, unpleasant food and extreme weather, Vicky told Xinhua via email.
As the cabin is very small and damp, sailors have to share beds with other teammates.
"When I felt too hard and wanted to cry in the race, I would remember my promise to my mother: Never Give Up," Vicky said.
Before Vicky left for London to attend the race, her mother was just diagnosed with liver cancer.
"She insisted that I should go to complete the adventure instead of taking care of her, and we'vs made a promise to each other - Never Give Up," Vicky said.
"We are fighting different battles. My persistency in sailing will encourage her to be strong-minded in fighting the cancer.
"The happiest thing in sailing is to call my mother over satellite phone. It feels so warm when I hear her voices, though I shed tears from time to time," she added.
This is the second time that Vicky competes in the Clipper race, which is held every two years and the largest amateur yacht race in the world.
"I took part in only one leg of the race in 2012. This time I will try to complete the whole race of about 45 thousand nautical miles, which means more difficulties and challenges."
Vicky was appointed a shift foreperson in the fifth leg, the first time in Clipper history that a Chinese acts in the role.
"To be a shift foreperson, you have to consider all crew members and what they should do. This is a big challenge for me and also what I should learn as a second-time Clipper sailor," she said.
The Lunar New Year, a traditional holiday for family reunion in China, falls on Jan. 31 this year. Vicky and another Chinese sailor on the Qingdao Yacht made dumplings for other crew members to celebrate the holiday.
"Making dumplings on board is very difficult, so everybody got only five dumplings," Vicky said. "We also taught them to say 'Xin Nian Hao' (Happy New Year), too."
When asked about her wish for the year of horse, Vicky said, "I wish my mother a speedy recovery."