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 4
The watch systems themselves could vary from no change of tack for days, and very little work to – full on sail changes, reefs in/out, days laughing lots or days when the weather is miserable and waves crashing over and people not talking much. Just wanting their shift to finish and eat/sleep. I must admit even though you have your training, nothing really prepares you for how full on the venture becomes. Living and eating with a yacht on 45 degree angle, and adapting to dressing/cooking and even going to the toilet like this. So, when the sea is calm – it feels amazing and especially arriving on land as you do really appreciate standing still, and all the luxuries of a bed, shower and much more!
So arriving into Ireland (London Derry), I was totally overwhelmed by my whole experience and floods of tears got the better of me as I stepped off the yacht to a flurry of cameras and TV/radio presenters. One lady filming me actually asked for the filming to cease to give me a hug (that was really sweet). The stop over here was longer and allowed more time for rest and sight seeing too! I ate like crazy for the first few days and mostly junk food. At sea, fresh food is cooked and a loaf/cake on each mother shift. When that runs out, we had tinned or space food. But you need to eat and a happy hour of sweets/biscuits was always available 😉
I really enjoyed being back on land! Eating, sleeping and generally re-cooperating. I spent a day in Belfast and explored some of London Derry itself. I had time to also meet and socialise with other crew from other yachts. I loved meeting everyone brought together doing this sailing venture, that I would never have met in any other circumstance. And, I have made some fabulous friends for life 🙂
The media was all a buzz again with local press, and even a phone call from CNN news in USA for their website, which gets over 50 million hits a month. I was becoming recognised here too and had people stopping me in the streets to talk to me. Instead of me saying the same again later on, press was done also upon arrival in the Netherlands and now my phone is ringing back home in the UK with media interest!
Anyways, time to gather my clean clothes and re-join the yacht for the journey to Den Helder in the Netherlands. A shorter race this time (well anything is shorter than 15 days). And also I was to celebrate my 6th Transplant Anniversary on July 9th at sea. Well, as luck or not would have it – sea sickness took hold of me again. I have to say, able bodied crew suffered with sea sickness too, and a majority do not. So for anyone worried best not to, as regardless you DO turn the corner and I can vouch for that. And when you do, life is good again! I must admit I thought it was game over again, and if I was honest, was fed up now of this. But, I am so glad I turned that corner and focused on getting to the Netherlands, as it was the best feeling again. The social events were amazing and were worth me pursuing and seeing all the wonderful friends on the other yachts too. So, more good food, rest, social, and I knew now it was just days until the finish. I remember joking with another crew member, I can’t be ill again and even if I am…I will be prepared except for a bucket!