Jussie sails with Clipper 11-12

Jussie sails with Clipper 11-12
I sailed the last leg (8) in 2012 - USA,Nova Scotia,Ireland,Netherlands & UK. Travelling 4,000 miles, approx 22 days at sea, with 4 races in this leg.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Ahoy Sailor !

Level 3

Yippy!!!! Above is my home when I get to compete in my leg at sea next year. Welcome to the Edinburgh Inspiring Capital yacht!! Doesn't it look kool - you would never believe the luxury inside - double beds/mod cons/ensuites/state of the art kitchen/lounge quarters and a 50' flat screen TV............hold up! You believe that? Well for about 2months all will be back to basics - no mod cons, no luxury, no privacy and that is the first challenge. I do like to pamper and look and feel good, but no time for makeup/hair/nice clothes. All about being practical and being part of a team and helping each other to win!!!!!!

I have now completed all my courses, and this blog will detail my last 2 training courses, that I did back to back (wish I had a break but only dates I could do inbetween all my other commitments/transplant games). And, in a way I thought would be good as give me a feel for a longer duration at sea and a reality for what is to come. I normally blog day by day and managed to make notes in my notebook for level 3...so that format will follow. However, level 4........hahahahahaha..if only...wait until I write about that...

What do you think of my strategically placed Henri Lloyd shoes under this Clipper logo....you would never know I am an artist? Oh, and if you didn't know - I am! Another story for another time.......

So, let the fun begin level 3 crew:- (left to right) Antonio, Lynn, Richard, Anne, Jami and me in this opening scene 'welcome to our lounge' :)

I actually arrived the night before and glad I did as driving tires me out and wanted to be on form ready for my 1st week at sea. This week was to go over all that has been learnt over levels 1 and 2 and to be ready to do a mini race against the other 10 Clipper yachts ready for level 4. I got to meet some great people (have done on every level) and people that I will be racing against too when the race actually starts. Friends for now...enemies when racing and friends again when Edinburgh Inspiring Capital wins ;) x

Hey, don't we look sexy in our sailing gear! Yes, I know your jealous...left to right in this photo:- Kate, Tom 1, Anne, Me, Tom 2, Antonio, Richard, Steve, John, and Jami.

The first night was a safety training de-brief then pub!! hahaha. I didn't sleep much but loved my Gauss sleeping bag (minus the thermal layer). Having had 2 different sleeping bags over the previous levels....it didn't take me long to realise I needed the real thing for comfort and warmth, only took me 2 failed attempts to get it right. Better late than never ;)

The next day (Saturday) more de-briefing then ready to sail for the morning and stay at sea. Plenty of drills and then to a watch system 6 hours day then switching to a 4 hour night watch system. The main sail up as below and check the beauty of the blue sky :)

Check out all our beaming smiles as we chill - sailing like this is bliss....not always this way (level 4 was not the case, and you will need to read on to find out).

I still manage to get my 'pink' in and that is my only glamour on board.

Night watch is actually very hard - just trying to keep awake! You do eventually adjust but it can take a few days for your body to get used to a watch system. There are many challenges with sailing not just the back to basics, but lack of sleep and mentally being strong to deal with this, people skills and sea sickness, and other things. Unfortunately, quite a few people on this level was attacked by the green monster. I was lying in my sling (well it isnt much..lol) and thinking how confident I was feeling NOT being sick and how I could boast about this here in my blog. After 4 hours, and time to get on deck for night watch duty....eek....erkkk....oops.....crikey...I'm running for the heads (toilets) and both were being used......I managed to shout out LOUD "hurry up"!!!!!!!! Needless to say.....the green monster greeted me with helllllooooooo - and gotya!! After that...the rest of the week I was fine, phew.

The next day, was as an engineer role but I must state that after a while at sea/watch systems...I had no concept for day/times. As engineer I needed check the engine with Jami and also check the bilges in the yacht to remove any excess water, and log entries. There was a leak from one of the heads - and the smell...........cripes!!! You don't need know need that...

Anyways, check out breakfast in the morning a lovely start to the day, and nice when the sea behaves. Many meals I have had with added waves seasoning my food with salt!! Coffee and salt water, cornish pasties with baked beans and salty waves - hmmmm......Jamie Oliver there's a new recipe for you :) But, you get so hungry and eat anything and lots of carbohydrate based foods with rice/pasta.

Think it is Monday now......and lack of sleep really starting to get to me, and feeling like utter crap and having to get on deck for 4am-8am. There is no air below deck and trying to sleep in intense heat is a mare, and I think I never actually slept in my sleeping as so hot below..but had the comfort of lying ontop of it.

Ok now welcome to a selection of gallery photos with a little description.......some chick on the coffee grinder :)

Jami demonstrating some dish cloth skills in the galley.......urm...ok ;)

Giving chase to another yacht....

I just love this photo - so had to share it here, do you like how I managed to capture a yacht in the horizon ;)

Eek!! 45' angle all harnessed in, but, deep down exciting!!!

And for any doubt below deck the crew swinging about like monkeys.....you would think we were all drunk as no one was able to stand up straight!!

I really enjoy capturing shots like this as night falling and how amazing to be at sea.

The last 2 days of sailing took us across the English Channel to France, Guernsey and surrounding Channel Islands, and finally to Alderney where we moored up and escaped to a local pub with other level 3's training. We actually moored onto a buoy and got a water taxi to land...lol....all in the fun. I had a shower too whilst there (and that IS luxury)!

Again, sleep - what's that? I can't remember what day it was (think maybe last but one day), but I woke up early for mother watch duty and felt totally de-energised and unable to do anything. No sleep all week having had an effect on me. I think I crashed out on/off after feeling shakey for hours and knew I had to snap out of feeling like this and get ready to be 'mother'. Somehow I did and my adrenalin keeps me alive and going through tough times like this.

The last day was to sail back to Gosport and the sea changed with massive waves and the yacht was at an angle and again we were all harnessed above deck. So after my lack of sleep, feeling unwell for a few hours from this and being mother for the crew. I also had a great fall down below....I went to get biscuits for the crew and then the yacht tilted the opposite way and I was left swaying down below and I was hanging on for dear life to the area where the food was. I knew if I let go I would fall into a wall the other side. I screamed out for someone to help me...no one was about just then and the others sleeping off watch. I did fall and hit the wall then amazingly then fell back the other way straight on my back onto the floor. The sound/impact stirred a couple of people and one actually witnessed my fall as I screamed out, and said it was good!! Haha...humour never lost when in pain. I think I was a little dazed but wanted to get up and back on deck as being below when rocky makes me feel sick. So, I was like help me up..feeling tender and looking forward to a large bruise all down my body, smiled, laughed and brought the biscuits on deck finally!

Smiley me here, but no idea what day this was taken..hahaha, as said days just disappear into the sea. But, a it's wrap for level 3 and I now have 1 night to rest and get ready for it all to start again the next day........

Level 4

No notes no time to write anything down...just memories and photos..so please sit back and enjoy my last edition to sailing training. This week was to sail with our Skipper in the race, Gordon Reid and some of my actual crew (though not necessarily doing the same leg as me). Also to do more drills and an actual race with all the other Clipper yachts. Plenty of night sailing/watch systems and blocked heads...ewwwww!!!

The first few days were like a dream - gorgeous sunny weather calm seas and paradise blue skies. A pace somewhat more relaxed than level 3 and secretly quite relieved as still trying to catch up from lack of sleep/exhaustion.

Here we are having giggles with Robyn, me, Alan and Tom...it's important to have laughs and a plenty we did :)

Part of the drills were a session in knots.....oops....I went into mini panic thinking can I remember all of them, and we were in our watch teams competing against each other. Thankfully, I got them right except some took longer to do than others. And Gordon (skipper) then checked every knot and helped those still unsure. It was a good exercise, fun, but with a serious undertone as it's important to be able to do knots correctly!

One of the days involved a photo shoot to be used for promotional materials for Clipper 11-12. It was supposed to be the week prior (not sure why it didn't happen then). However, I wasn't complaining....a media blitz..love it! We were to wait for a helicopter to come and take photos of all the 10 yachts then do individual yacht shots. A formation was needed to be done and the skipper showed us the layout and which order we needed to be in. It seemed like hours we waited so we all simply laid down on the high side with our feet hanging over. Eyes closed trying to get 5 mins catch up, then Gordon said helicopter is here and everyone bolted up! No helicopter..bah, so we all lied down again and shut eyes. "helicopter is here" Gordon shouts again...we all wake up again only to see no helicopter. This must have gone on for about 30-40 mins and I think Gordon enjoyed seeing us snooze then wake us up...jokes!

However, the helicopter DID arrive and photos were taken, then time to set sail and carry on with the day.

Quite exciting to see all of the other yachts........

In the photo below is Steve (Professor of Transplantation Surgery), who set up the Transplant Ambassador scheme with Darius (transplant surgeon) and TT (transplant co-ordinator) having a chilled down time moment.

Here is also the link if anyone would like to help me give back Transplant Ambassador Fundraising Page

Thanks xx

No one wants there to be injury, man over board, sinking yacht...but, it is important to re-emphasize safety drills over and over again. A feature that has strongly dominated across each level. Level 4 was no exception and I was the apparent 'unconscious' casualty on the bow and needed to be safely moved and put below deck. The crew needed to work out the best way to do this and incase injury how to carry me...and here I am strapped in a hospital bunk and tied with ropes. Apologies as I couldn't help laughing and talking at this time and many other followed and laughed telling me I was the worst 'unconscious' person ;)

Supporting crew (left to right) Callum, Lynn, TT, Nick, Justin, Steve and Pru.

A serious exercise, but one that was exectuted extremely well and I felt very safe and was maneuvered perfectly below. I hope this never happens to anyone - but, I feel confident as a team we can do this. I did manage a 'thumbs up' and smile below falling unconscious again.....

Sheer bliss here enjoying the sun.....blue seas.......

Here I am and also getting ready to flake a sail (sitting down) and waiting to be crushed once the sail has been flaked into a sail bag. Tip....great way to get a flat tummy quick or a case of breathe in!!!

Nick, TT, Pru and I having a thinking moment.......

I have mentioned how glorious the weather/seas have been so far.....but that all changed the day after the photo shoot. I was actually quite poorly for 2 days - not eating and being sick for that duration! The sea/weather changed to a force 8 and I found myself really struggling to cope. No photos were taken then - no sight or sound from me......quiet as a mouse. I felt so 'unme' and didn't like how I felt. I wasn't the one affected and out of a 19 crew (including skipper who wasn't sick) 16 were sick at some point!! Only a few of us were so bad that we couldnt get on deck for watch duties and were bed bound (including me). What a shock......reminding me on my days bed bound in hospital. I felt so ill that I couldn't even move..barely talk..couldn't eat and needed to go to the toilet, but, frustrated as not able to get up. Sadly, throwing up everywhere (sorry if you are eating..hahaha whilst reading this) and given a bucket - that became my best friend.

I ended up on one occassion throwing up my immuno-suppressants that keep me alive and got so worried. Thankfully, for me I had a few transplant doctors onboard who gave me advice and kept checking I was ok. I won't lie I hit such a low and thought I can't do this and became so upset. And thought that I need to be removed - airlifted to be precise (go out in style) and get to hospital for some ivs and rest. I remember before leaving for these courses my Mum saying if it gets bad to go and look after my health. I thought I would be letting everyone down and gutted.

However.......I am not a quitter...I AM a fighter!!!!!! I have endured so much in my life and this is just another case of overcoming mental attitude over health. I am pleased to say, I turned a corner.......managed to get out of my bunk...made the toilet..hahaha...and get on deck! After, almost 2 days of no noise from me...I finally felt..woohooooo ALIVE again and back to laughing and joking. The crew were glad to "have ME back" so I was told :)

Even though this happened..in a way I'm glad it did and I know sailing won't always be easy and I needed to experience the roughness...to know the real challenges that lie infront of me. The only way I can describe it as a bizarre parrallel is that to my 15 lung collapses. Each lung collapse was traumatic and so painful ......but after each one I knew what to expect..how to cope..how to tolerate the pain...how to mentally focus and stay alive. Being sea sick is no way the same as having a lung collapse but if I can get through them - then if I get ill again at sea...I will know how to cope....tolerate..mentally focus and get through it!!

Through the lows...will be high times...and I captured this amazing sunset after being unwell, makes it worth it and all I can is, "breath-taking".

Well, that's almost a wrap..time to get back to Gosport for another deep clean and time to get back to reality.

And welcome to the chaos of all 10 yachts having a deep clean stripping all below and cleaning which takes a few hours.

I have now finished all my training for Clipper 11-12 and have 10 months until I do my leg at sea. I can't believe it - I've done it. I have achieved what I thought the impossible and feel confident I can sail around part of the world and be a transplant ambassador in the process. I have made so many wonderful new friends..had so many laughs...struggled at times.....overcome sea-sickness, shed some tears and what a journey.....

I am a sailor!!!!

But, the real journey is yet to happen next year. I cannot sign off without actually saying none of this would have been possible without my gift of 'lungs' from my donor. And, I actually was at sea for my 5th transplant anniversary and on that day, July 9th......

I had moments where I just looked into the sea and smiled to myself, thought and thanked my donor and captured like a camera every moment and said,



1 comment:

  1. Am so so sooooooo proud of you Justy xxx
    You are such an inspiration xx