For many years I have been plotting my One More Step Challenge, to sail the oceans of the world. I am 207nm from Porto, the final destination for completion of my crossing of the North Atlantic Ocean. To this moment we have sailed about 4,000nm in two legs, Florida to the Azores, and then the Azores to Portugal. I write now rather than on arrival because there will be so many tasks to complete and less time to think and reflect.
If all goes to schedule we will have one more night watch and should arrive Saturday afternoon, local time.
The four of us are sitting drinking tea and coffee and the mood is definitely positive. In all passages we have our highs and lows: highs with a sunrise, a great 5 minutes of sailing, a yarn told by a crew member. Lows are often coupled with fatigue, missing loved ones at home, responding to adverse issues such as an equipment malfunction.
But at this moment, we are all positive. We just had a period of 25kts of breeze and the boat was sailing at 10kts. Life is good.
As I look back I can’t but help to be surprised that we have almost completed this leg of the journey. So many things could have got in the way: Covid, having the right boat, finding dockage space (well we are still working on that) but we have not let it stop us. There are times I have said “we will figure it out so long as we have options: plan A, B and C.” There are other times when I have felt demoralized and others have said to me “we will figure it out”. We are close and we are figuring it out. It all comes back to my inspiration, my grandma Lil and my mum, who always said “I can and I will”.
Some ask me whether I would sail this leg again – Florida to Europe. Two answers, yes and no. Yes, not a problem, and I would do it differently with a smaller boat and less of a need to find so many crew. No, I have done it, time to move on to the next challenge, and I have many already lined up.
As I have sailed some of my highlights have been the Sail For Epilepsy program. Talking to Virtual Shipmates, writing about the voyage and featuring some Shipmates. Reading your comments on the various social media platforms and giving responses when conditions permit. Oh, and a bit of sailing too.
Before we arrive in our next port, thanks are due to so many. My wife Marianne who has been a proud supporter of my efforts, despite the fact that it means a lot of separation in 2022. Lauren and Kimberly at Sail For Epilepsy who have been there at all hours on land to develop plans, push me and help with shore support. Our board members, and my friends, Roy and Steve, who have listened to me every Wednesday morning and are great supporters. Our advisors, sponsors and donors. Importantly, the crew members who generously donated time and effort to the program.
But most of all, I want to thank the epilepsy community who have joined me on the voyage, followed along, and taken up the One More Step Challenge.
One of my goals in this project is to provide inspiration, but as it turns out, all of you are the inspiration for me. When faced with one of the lows, I can think of the connections I’ve made with you all and the conversations I’ve had with some and that gives me the motivation to work the problem and keep going. Thank you.