Why go to sea?

June 2017

When you want things to change then try something different!

There are moments in your life when you know you just have to ‘seize the moment’ and that’s what happened to me in the London Underground back in 2013.

This adventure is all down to a chance meeting with a poster in the tube extolling the reader to ‘Achieve something remarkable’.


When I saw that poster my whole being shouted ‘YES!’ In my head that ‘yes’ came with neon flashing lights and loud klaxon horns blaring … it was a total wake-up moment! Due to circumstance I had found myself sleep-walking through existence, I had settled for less than best, and now this was the opportunity to really live life – and on the edge!

It is the knocks you get in the process of living that make you the person you are – I am the sort of person who soldiers on. I try to make the best of whatever. But sometimes you get worn-down. Abusive relationships are like that.

My son Harry was born with multiple special needs. Possibly the first thing the doctors told me was that he only stood a 50% chance of making it to his second birthday. Fortunately Harry hadn’t read the script and he sailed through the landmark of his second birthday…and subsequent birthdays. Harry was a fighter.

What having a disabled child taught me was to grab life with both hands and live it. Harry lived life, he might have been limited in what he did but he loved life and lived it to the full. He had a talent for making other people feel special.

Harry died when he was 18. The last 19 months of his life I cared for him alone, at the end with support from Helen & Douglas House. My family and my life completely disintegrated. It was an incredibly isolating and lonely place to be.

Shortly after Harry’s death I had reason to go to London and saw that Clipper Race poster. So on the back of absolutely no sailing experience whatsoever I signed the contract to participate in Legs 7 and 8 in the 2013-14 edition of the race (San Francisco back to London).

Sailing that race was a revelation – I really could do it! But as much as I had enjoyed the experience I felt it had ‘only’ been half an adventure.

Coming back to land from the race I got involved with Sailability in Oxford. Sailing is a fantastic opportunity for all sorts of people. Sailing enables!

In August 2015 I returned to London to watch the start of the 2015-16 Race. As the boats sailed out down the Thames they took my heart with them. The decision was made – come the 2017-18 edition of the race I would be there.

Sailing in general – and the Clipper Race in particular – gives its sailors opportunities. The opportunity to discover a sense of adventure, to experience new challenges with new people, to make new friends, to learn new skills, to visit new places, to discover your ability to endure, to really test yourself and measure up, to be yourself.

As Bob Marley once observed:

“You never know how strong you are until being strong is your only choice.”

The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race 2017-18 will take 11 months and will involve sail racing across 40,000 nautical miles of the world’s oceans.

As the Zen Dog observed:

It’s not the destination … but the glory of the ride.

Feel the fear and do it anyway – that’s sailing!

Details of the race can be found on the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race website:


The 2017-18 edition of the race starts from Liverpool on Sunday 20 August 2017.

Come and cheer us off!


3 thoughts on “Why go to sea?

  1. Heh Rose – beautiful blog site and words, I hadn’t realised your story – good luck with the race – hopefully I will see you before you start


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