Miss World Rolene Strauss is used to being the focus of the photographer's lens but on Thursday she turned the camera on herself to capture the most amazing 'selfie' up the 100ft (30.3 metres) mast of a Volvo Ocean Race boat.

The challenge to shimmy up the mast turns many a strong guy into jelly, but the 22-year-old from Volkrust, South Africa, didn't need asking twice when Race leaders, Dongfeng Race Team, challenged her to do the climb in Sanya, China.

Miss Strauss, who won her title in London last December, was hoisted up the mast – the equivalent height of six giraffes – in a matter of a couple of minutes and took a leisurely view of the harbour before coolly lowering herself down.

"Oh, it was beautiful. The scenery was so beautiful. I just fell in love with Sanya and with everything. It felt like I was on top of the world," she said.

"So the message that I wrote, I drew a big eye watching down on the boat and then I said 'One world. One strength'. At Miss World we believe that we all win and if we work together as one then we have more strength. So if they work together as one they will have more strength and they will prosper," she added.

Dongfeng and the rest of the fleet, on a nine-month, 38,739-nautical mile offshore marathon race around the world, leave China on Sunday for Auckland in New Zealand for the fourth leg of nine. The race is scheduled to finish in Gothenburg, Sweden on June 27.