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.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Clipper Race Start

Welcome lovely people. I have realised that there are 'newbies' who have come across my blog and it's hard to summarise a lifetime of my journey in a few words....but I'm sure you will be able to play catch up ;)

You will ascertain on the forefront that I am a very positive person living with a long term health condition and living life to the max. I choose to do this and whilst I can...I do not know what is around the corner...and know anything I would like to do..I need to try and do it now. I do have issues 'post' transplant and again I tend not to moan or talk about any of this. Sometimes....if I'm honest I put on a front and just decide to get on with things as opposed to being anything other than happy and smiley. I have wanted to write my autobiography for many years, and I am now in the of process of writing my life-story. This will be my outlet for the truth and nothing but the whole truth....it is a painful and raw process for me. Until then.....watch this space.....

A happy buzzy go get getter that I am and blocking out anything else, so, bearing that in mind I am now involved with the Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race that started in July this year. I have needed to go through various sailing training levels (also detailed in my blog) and achieved new sailing RYA qualifications. My role is as a Transplant Ambassador to raise awareness on Organ Donation whilst sailing around part of the world next year.

So.......now about the race start weekend....

Clipper Clipper Clipper....go go go!! Branded, named, tagged, wrist banded for confirmation I AM part of Clipper and have VIP access to the pontoons.

Ready steady lets Race!!!!

After all my training, reality said July 31st 2011 the Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race WAS starting, and I definitely wanted to be here to support this. To all the new friends that I have made and to my team Edinburgh Inspiring Capital (EIC). So much buzz all weekend with thousands of people and a lot of media frenzy cameras, film crews, and click click of peoples' phones capturing the moment.

I cannot avoid a photo moment like this and a chance for a thumbs up pose with my new friends from the race start ;)

Oops...however, I am racing ahead of myself...as I actually arrived the night before for the whole weekend ready for 31st, and found myself hanging out the 'Welcome to Yorkshire' (WtY) team. I have made many good friends and Wend (in the photo below thumbs up - definitely one of them). Nevermind Thelma and Louise, its now modernised by Wend and Jussie ;)

The WtY yacht is bright pink and I guess I fitted in with my hair for the night (so mentioned by their skipper, named Rupert)

Also with Sharon in this photo and the 'token' pink sunglasses that cost £1.00 with a shot of some kind of snapps. I just borrowed a pair of sunglasses for this photo and swiftly handed them back to their rightful new owner. (and didn't have a snapps either ;)

And here I am with Chris who I did one of my levels with and his lovely wife, Charis who took this piccie.

Ok.....another 'non' Yorkshire crew member here, with the sweet Joy or Joyful as she is called. I met Joyful staying in a local guesthouse and had many banters over breakfast.

That evening (Friday) followed by all of us going to a party arranged by Clipper in a venue with a band and to meet everyone else. It was great to meet other team crews and some with their family/friends who came along for the weekend. A long day and night and now time for me to get some sleep ready for the fun on Saturday.

Saturday was about final preps of the 10 yachts and a chance to go onto the pontoon and see the teams. Edinburgh Inspiring Capital also had our naming ceremony full with hot haggis, booze, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston making a speech with other Edinburgh representatives including our skipper, Gordon Reid. Followed by canopes and champagne. Quite a nice Saturday afternoon if I don't say so myself :)

And here I am displaying our yacht with pride! Ta - daa!!

Hey check out these kilts....not legs ;) I will also be wearing the same when I get to join my leg next year and wear for promotional/media purposes nearer the time. In the meanwhile...my 'lung' T-shirt got an airing and another chance to raise the profile on organ donation.

Here are some of us Edinburgh girls facing my camera - left to right, me, Holly, Niamh, and Anne.

And another group shot of some of the 'girls' left to right:- Sue, Anne, Holly, me, Catherine, Sarah, TT, then Karen and Lesley (front row).

Capturing the moment with Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, Edinburgh representatives and some of the EIC crew about to embark on leg 1.

I like this photo and for no other other reason added it into my blog ;)

And here is Sir Robin Knox-Johnston again proudly speaking for our naming ceremony of our yacht.

All the yachts lined up......not for too much longer.......

After a busy afternoon, I decided to take some 'me' time and go for a walk in Southampton city centre and have a little rest. The evening was a meal out with my some of the team crew, and I must have eaten for 2 people (well it felt that way). An amazing restaurant, great food and fab to chat away with my new friends.....and wishing well for those starting the race on Sunday. We tried to hurry up the meal as 10pm was fast approaching and Clipper were arranging fireworks!

Sunday July 31st - Race Start Day!

So after a busy day Saturday, some sleep...the real buzz was for today, the actual race start. All training done........crew and yachts ready, time to support the main event. I must admit I had butterflies in my stomach and felt quite emotional to see this happen as reality says in 10 months it will be me saying farewell for about 2 months. Then returning back to a mass of 1000's of people welcoming us all back to England.

There are many photos from this day and some with friends as below...enjoy :)

Below I am with Shona from LondonDerry

Yes....this man really is this tall (with stilts)....

And team members of EIC strutting their funky stuff in their kilts ;)

Barry and Nick

Here with Lesley

And here I am with Holly

The main stage surrounded by thousands of people in the crowds, where bands performed and later each yacht with their teams/skipper made a stage debut.

And if any doubt.....fancy being a tin of sardines??...no room to move, the crowds so deep!!

Then occasionally the main screen would switch and show the crowds...Woo!! Such an electric atmosphere really hard to describe, but, hopefully my photos depict what I felt/saw and the ambience of the day.

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston

And the EIC crew making their mark on the stage

Deep breath in and stretch....some random chick doing some kinda yoga exercise and making use of the space around her ;)

The time has come to wave each yacht away from the marina to make their way to the starting point of the race start at sea. Each yacht has a song that represents them and was played LOUD and hummed throughout the atsmosphere, as mooring ropes were released one yacht at a time. Our Yatch EIC played, Heather Small-Proud which you can watch and listen to the inspirational tune (click on the highlighted Heather Small - Proud).

It's a truly fabulous as this song also represents the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Quite appropriate I think :)

Seeing all the yachts depart...meant also a swift move for me and some friends to make our way onto a boat to then go out to sea and watch the yachts get to their starting point. To watch some of the race before returning back to emptiness..and no people...no buzz.......the warmth now cold as all the activity now at sea!

Now follows some more photos with a brief description of the duration at sea.

Here I am with Wend on board a spectator boat holding champagne..I swear..I have no idea how that got into my hand ;)

All boats, yachts were to stay behind the HMS Illustrious pictured in the photo below, large enough for everyone to see! Amazing to be watching the activity start....

Peering my head over to try and get a shot of all the yachts in the distance.

Woohoo got a couple close ups of two yachts neck and neck

And here is EIC getting going :)

Caught in a breeze with Catherine and Sarah

Hows that for close up action, Derry-Londonderry sailing past the spectator boat that I was on.

I waved and looked at the reaction I got back ;)

In the captain's quarter below, and with Adam Tuffnell who organised one of the spectator boats for the race start. I simply went to say hello and next thing I knew, my voice was being aired and questions asked about my leg/my transplant for all to hear. As I left the area and returned on deck ........ an applause by all....wow.

And now for the professional photos, taken from the Clipper 11-12 website

Clipper's photos at sea are fantastic and capture the whole scene together...if only I was in a helicopter taking the photos ;)

So...that's it! The race has started!!!! I fly out to New York end May 2012 - to start my leg early June and sail 4,000 miles at sea thereafter.......

Oh and a quick update with the Olympic Torch nominations...Woohoo!! I've been shortlisted - wow!! ( I found out by email 8/11/11). And bizarely from all the nominations I recieved, it was my Dad's that got me through and I am very grateful to all who did nominate me!!

And now I will find out in December if I am one of the lucky ones. Whatever the outcome, I feel very blessed/humble that my story has been recognised and even if I get no further it is still an achievement to get this far. There are many wonderful inspirational people and whoever does get to carry the torch will be very worthy.

I could carry on talking...but I will save that for another blog update on news another time.

I would just like to end on wishing a dear friend of mine Rachey Wakefield a speedy recovery who is so very poorly at the moment (also a double-lung transplantee) and having a rough time with her health.

Keep smiling everyone and be grateful for each breathe you take xx

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