Life in a cement mixer aboard Spirit of Juno

Date7 December 2005

While on the helm last night doing 9-10 kts of boat speed the running backstay broke free despite careful daily deck checks.

The stainless steel cable hit me on the head. The cable then swung wildly about the boat. Blue watch all ducked to avoid having their sculls splattered. I brought Juno more downwind to reduce the heavy swell and Paul B managed to catch the offending item and tie it down safely.

I developed a small bump on my head and a bit of a headache. Paul B checked me out. “How many fingers do you see?” Why does he always have to use two?

Let me be clear. For the crew of Juno, this is a rehabilitation event. Some of the guys are recent amputees with no idea of their capabilities. This physically demanding event demonstrates that these individuals are capable of perhaps more than they could imagine.

The mental strength to compete in this class and live with five people for 20 days in a confined space should not be underestimated. Many amputees carry deep mental scars from the trauma and injuries sustained in conflict zones throughout the world. Our major Sponsors, The Royal British Legion and The Veterans Association provide valuable services to get people on their feet again. The have armies of highly trained case workers who will respond to requests for assistance within 24 hours. The subsequent action plan is usually starts within 48.

Charley Streather is a qualified volunteer case worker. Lots of rain and sea spray for the last 20 hours. Pepe after being thrown from his bunk in the heavy swell remarked, it’s like living in a **** cement mixer. I continue marvel at the humanity of the crew. If someone is a bit down, they get support in a quiet non showy way. Overt displays of affection is a no-no as we are all ‘hard-arsed ex-services’, but caring is there and everyone looks out for each other. A bit like the ultimate self help group… But, in a cement mixer?