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...

Lungs went sailing cont 3

I confided in another crew member who suggested I speak to our skipper. I was lucky; Piers said whatever we need to do to keep you onboard we will do, so you can achieve your goal! A new shift was designed for me from 6am-12noon with the first watch, and then 12noon-6pm on the second watch. This was a god send, and meant my body had overnight to rest/repair. Saying that, even though my body was able to rest – you don’t get to sleep much with the noise of the sea/wind/chatter of watch change over’s and moving of sail bags in the sleeping quarter. Plus, where I slept had the engine by my head and coffee grinder above. You get the picture, but I was extremely grateful and would generally get into my bunk at 8.30pm and awake for the 5.30am start.

My crew were very supportive and that helped too. Putting aside the sailing, the aspect being cooped up in a small space challenges everyone mentally – especially when sleep deprived/hungry. You will find some people you just ‘click’ with and others not, and then the odd one or two never wanting to see again. Probably, like in any environment or perhaps working in an office. However, this is part of the mental aspect learning to deal with various personalities and if clashes, to deal with it and carry on getting on for the harmony of the team.

I wasn’t sure when writing my own personal blog if I would mention someone who confronted me, but, decided I would (obviously no naming) as part of my experience. Being told I had no right to be on the yacht and other things. I got back on deck and cried my eyes out, I was so hurt (guess I still am). But, that person did have a right to tell me and as said above better to get things out and move on. For the rest of my journey, I made things ok as didn’t want any animosity to affect our crew. But, I did think about what was said and went back to this person to say ‘whatever I achieve is an achievement for me and I have every right to be here!’

And after 15 days sailing the Atlantic Ocean I made history as the first double lung transplantee in the world to have done so! Karma 🙂 Even, though it may seem I had lows, I had many highs too – and I loved being at sea seeing the natural wildlife. The beauty of dolphins swimming and showing off, as they performed what seemed like a dance in front of the yacht. Or, the times seeing the occasional whale and birds sweeping onto the yacht to say hello. The glorious sunrise and sunset in the middle of the ocean, and capturing these moments like a scene never viewable on land. The smell of the fresh air with no toxins/smoke, or maybe I notice that more because of my lungs.

  1. 1. Introduction
  2. 2. Lungs went sailing cont 2
  3. 3. Lungs went sailing cont 3
  4. 4. Lungs went sailing cont 4
  5. 5. Lungs went sailing cont 5
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