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Across the finish into Newport, RI

When Phil Haydon and co-skipper Joe Cooper crossed the finish line of the double-handed leg of the Bermuda 1-2 on June 22nd, they also completed a successful chapter in the Sail For Epilepsy program. They overcame the adversity of multiple equipment failures, including of the auto-pilot, as well as outran a tropical storm, to finish third in their class after 4 days, 23 hours, and 16 minutes and 715 nautical miles sailed.

During both the solo and double-handed legs of the race, Phil connected with the epilepsy community in a variety of ways. He wrote regular blogs describing this experience, as well as supplied photos and videos from offshore. These were posted to the Sail For Epilepsy website and across all social media channels, with an estimated combined reach of over 29,200 and over 55,300 combined impressions.

Phil highlighted three of his Virtual Shipmates, Eddie, Tyler, and Paul, to commend them for participating in the One More Step Challenge. It meant a great deal to Phil to receive a video back from Tyler and his mother, answering some of Phil’s questions about Tyler’s musical tastes. Additionally, Phil connected live via video with two additional Virtual Shipmates, Sara and Joannie, showing them what life at sea was like and learning more about their journey with epilepsy.

Jasmine, Phil, and president of the St. George’s Rotary Club, Ihab Azab.

During the layover in Bermuda, Jasmine, a local woman with epilepsy, introduced Phil to the St. George’s Rotary Club of Bermuda where he was invited to be a guest speaker at their weekly meeting. Jasmine is starting a charity called “Living For Today” that will help raise awareness about epilepsy in her community as well as provide support. She took the brave step while introducing Phil at the meeting of stating publicly for the first time that she has epilepsy.

Phil’s presentation was an opportunity to raise awareness about epilepsy and educate the 40 people in attendance, as well as those watching through Zoom. The audience passed the quiz at the end of the presentation, correctly answering that 1 in 26 people will develop epilepsy in their lifetime. They also heard about the Sail For Epilepsy mission and we hope that they will continue to follow the journey.

We will take what was learned during this voyage, both on deck and in delivery of the Sail For Epilepsy program, to improve and expand upon it during the first leg of our global voyage, this summer’s East Coast Expedition.

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