Justine Laymond became the first double lung transplantee to take part in the Clipper Race. She signed up for leg 8 (New York to UK) and wasn't sure what to expect...
Amazing to think I have been home 3 weeks and now no sea around me with silence except for birds chirping early in the morning. I have been away for 7 weeks and sailed over 4,000 nautical miles from USA, Nova Scotia, Ireland, Netherlands and back to England. An adventure full of highs and lows, memories I will never forget, and an achievement that almost saw me fail with sea sickness (& not being able to keep down my medications). Something almost impossible, I made possible. A lot of happy smiles/tears and also tears of struggles. But, it has been a journey of determination and drive deep down to finish.
I flew to New York a few days early before I was due to join the yacht, Edinburgh Inspiring Capital. I became a tourist exploring the city and paying my respects at Ground Zero. Consuming burgers, cheesecakes, deli sandwiches (a nice blubber layer for the days ahead at sea). My time was made exciting; by also meeting other ladies with the rare condition LAM (who I’ve been in touch with – some for years).
My parents were there to wave goodbye on the day itself. I couldn’t believe in a matter of minutes I would be departing and sailing to Nova Scotia. I remember crying as I hugged my parents and saw my Dad shed a few tears (I’ve never seen my dad cry). I know they were worried yet they also knew it was something I wanted to achieve. This is it…..ropes set free, fenders in and waving goodbye to the crowds. I took a deep breath and knew no turning back. I guess this part of the race was great to get back into the sailing way of life and of the watch systems. Luckily the sea was calm and the weather gorgeous sunshine. Wow! I can get used to this. It also was great to start bonding with the other crew members (some Round the World’ers and other ‘leggers’ like me). We even had a new skipper, Piers who joined us for the final leg. Piers was a fab character and an understanding people’s person. Later on in the next race, this became evident as I started to struggle (more on that later).