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.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Final Leg & Reflections on Sailing Part World

Home Sweet Home :)

It is about time I finally write up the last journey from leg 8 in the Clipper 11-12 race from Den Helder, Netherlands back to Southampton, UK. It was a short race and one I anticipated no sea sickness, and even if I did - that an end in sight would see me through...as homeward I was! 

However, before that......time to learn about my fun time in the Netherlands and being a tourist. I  also met up with a friend I once met at the European Heart and Lung Transplant Games, named, Joachim. It was lovely to see Joachim again and it is great to be able to connect with friends made here, as we all are like family.

I did all the usual tourist things seeing any sights and a day trip to Amsterdam and some cheese as a yummy reminder to take home. When all the Clipper yachts did arrive from Ireland to Netherlands, the most fantastic party day/night was put on for all of us. The Dutch DO know how to throw a party and brought along a fab DJ that rocked the afternoon! I could have danced all day! 

All kinds of entertainment was provided from artists, stilt artists, stalls, foods, music, dance and much more!

And here we all our in our sexy kilts - the crew of Edinburgh Inspiring Capital

Enjoying a drink with Sir Robin Knox -Johnston, the first person to sail single handed and non - stop around the world between 14/6/1968 - 22/4/1969.

Enjoying a drink with Jonathan Levy - Global Business & External Relations for Clipper

My new way to get home 
It is strange trying to write up memories - which is what it is from almost 4 months ago now. I had intended to finish a last blog soon after returning home. But, so much happened and also 2 months of being very unwell, and hoping that I would be able to train for the British Transplant Games soon after to compete in. My previous blog to this IS about the Games - So, I did get to go, and had the all clear just one week before it was due to start! But, better late than never :)

With Callum and George from EIC yacht I was on
One last group shot before we all wave (below) and know this IS it - time to return back to England! As in one of my earlier blog's I mentioned I was ill on the journey to Ireland, and really hoped this journey would not be the case.

It was only a few days at sea 3 or 4, I can't remember now and we were all due to sail around the top of Scotland and informed heavy seas. Oh dear, I knew what that meant. This time prepared with a bucket, water, and wet wipes. So after my sea sickness passed - it was time to gather all happiness as almost time to be properly re - united with my parents, family and friends.

The atmosphere returning back into Southampton waters was truly electric! So many boats, supporters waving the Clipper crew back home. The water was a buzz of noise, shouts, giggles, press going crazy trying to capture the moment and take what seemed like a zillion photos! Here we are about to moor up and see the first sight of the Clipper Management/Press.

WOW!!!! I AM HOME!!!!!! There were thousands and thousands of people and I had no idea how I would find my parents. Apparently - they were near the front and made a fuss to see me - but initially not possible as we were all ushered to the main stage. However, I saw my mum and Dad and other people waiting behind a partitioned area. My Mum came out to me in tears and gave me the biggest hug ever! I know my parents have been so worried about me (and me about me too,lol). And the tears just said it all - relief to have me home finally!
With some of the EIC crew before going on stage
I took some photos whilst on stage, and as you can see it is wall to wall with people like sardines and apparently 100,000 people at the race finish. It is impossible to really explain how this day felt - but perhaps one of an overwhelming emotion - one of tears, happiness, reflections, joy at knowing home life can resume. Time to catch up with friends - eat, drink, sleep and be 'normal' again. No more life on the high seas...no more sea sickness...hahahahaha!!!!

I was truly exhausted it is fair to say, and the last hours were spent saying farewell to people and then back to a hotel for a shower (luxury) and a meal out. We all went out for an Indian, and I think my eyes were bigger than my belly as I couldn't eat as much as I normally do. Or was that the portion of chips I ate not so long before the meal ;)

I guess it would take me time to adjust back into my way of life. As I have already mentioned many months have passed now, and lots has happened. It took me weeks to get life back on track - with sorting out my flat, paperwork, seeing friends, training again for transplant games, re-covering from a scary bout of illness and being left underweight from my sailing venture. I guess I could see how the trip left me very exhausted and totally pushed my body to the max. It is surreal knowing I nearly quit twice due to being so unwell and unable to keep my  immuno-suppressants down. I have re-read my blogs over the trip and it seems that my experience was perhaps not negative but that of a challenge I wanted to achieve, and that IT was! It seems I had a lot of lows, and yes I did. I did have many highlights too - but I think it came across more that my sailing experience was of more lows than highs. On reflection maybe so, but the highs certainly kept me going and kept me strong.  The Clipper is about sailing, but it has other challenges besides the physical and incorporates mental and inner strengths. Being with so many people with various personalities, having no privacy, no space and nowhere to 'escape'. Being sleep deprived, hungry, and many other emotions that one possibly never knew existed. Time to think/reflect on life.....no quiet as constant noise even when 'off watch'. So regardless, whether I never worked night shifts - sleep was almost a no go with noise of sea/sail changes/weather/crew talking/moving sail bags from where the bunks were....and everything and anything!

The people I have met from this experience are totally amazing and made it all worthwhile. Never in any other circumstance would I have bonded with people across the world interested in sailing unless being part of Clipper. I have made some great friends across the UK and across the world. Some of my crew members on EIC were also truly supportive and helping me through my tough times to finish my challenge. Even, credit to the skipper Piers - who made it possible by helping adjusting my shifts - so that my lungs would not hurt and suffer the cold during the night times. Maybe their were one or two or even maybe more (on the EIC yacht) who didn't get me or understand my health situation and on the Atlantic Ocean journal I went into more details about this. However, in life - people will not always 'get' you and you can walk away - on the yacht you cannot, lol. So, learning to deal with uncomfortable situations and get on with it. My overview from this, is that - I will be in touch with those I like and made great bonds and that is how life is. You can work in your daily job and connect better with some people and some not at all. For the sake of work you all get on and do what you have to do. Then after hours - see other people you want to get to know more. I think you all know what I mean, and in your own way can relate to this (as it happens to us all).

It also made me proud that I DID accomplish my challenge, and I DID raise lots of Organ Donor Awareness across the globe, and made history as the first double-lung transplantee to sail the Atlantic Ocean. I know that when I die, I would have inspired many people and saved life's for the future by completing in the Clipper 11-12 Race (leg 8). So, that is PEACE for me :) xx

I have been asked. 'Will I sail again', to which normally I laugh a lot! Yes....I will, but not as an ocean racer sailor. Sailing is fun and I do enjoy it - but, I think calmer seas - and sailing around hot climates a preference to me. I would like to get back on the water, and see many of the friends I have made again.

I would recommend people to partake in Clipper, it is something that you can learn a new sport, make many friends, and overcome challenges and become a better person from it too. To gain an appreciation for life, food, sleep, and much more. I did actually enjoy being 'basic' such as no time for hair, make up/glamour. Being on land - when arriving in various ports across the world - was like, 'wow' a bed, quiet, calm and enjoying tea and take-aways. How I missed a curry and a burger! ;)

I think that summarises my time and lots of amazing things have happened to me...but, think that will be written up in another blog. Lets just say recognition for my sailing and all my other achievements over the years......

For now, I just to keep well and so excited to be part of Team GB in the World Transplant Games in South Africa (July 2013). I am fundraising - pretty please if you can...click on link highlighted and donate anything you can please, to further help with my awareness campaign raising Organ Donation. Thank you xx

Fundraising for Transplant Sport UK World Transplant Games

That's a wrap for now. Check out my cake made for my welcome home and belated 6th year Transplant Anniversary celebrations :)

Much love to you all, and thanks again for all support, messages, cards, over my duration sailing - love you all xx

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