With our crew busy at sea (take a look at one of the pictures taken yesterday evening on deck) today’s daily update is a focus on one of our chosen charities- Child Bereavement UK. Child Bereavement supports families when a child or baby of any age dies or is dying, and when a child is facing bereavement. They work tirelessly to support those who have to go through the unimaginable and their work is invaluable.
CBUK were there for Rene’s family when Rene died by suicide in 2017, and have continued to provide support and an ear to listen since then. Their mission is to esnure that high quality support is available for all, by continuing to increase their reach and fill the gaps that exist in bereavement support and training across the country.
Their website offers fantastic resources for those who may be facing bereavement or in the position where they are wanting to support those who are. The money we raise will be split between CBUK and PAPYRUS UK, and go towards ensuring a future where bereavement is supported across the board. No parent should have to go through losing a baby or child, and no child should have to go through losing a parent at a young age. However when such tragedies may present themselves, it is vital that we have charities such as CBUK to support life after bereavement.
Thank you CBUK for everything you have done and everything that you continue to do.
To see more about their work, take 5 minutes to visit their website:https://www.childbereavementuk.org
On day 4 of the race, Ian gives us an update from our boat. He talks about the feelings of isolation whilst at sea, and reminds us of the isolation that mental health struggles can cause.
"Stakes were high last night as the crew dealt with their first night sail in low wind without an anti-wrap net (the piece of equipment that protects the kite sail from being damaged by wrapping around the forestay). The boat suffered no damage, but we did veer slightly off course and payed for it today with even lighter winds. We are now trying to outrun the light patch before turning west towards St Lucia.
Being alone with only 5 people on deck during a watch and nothing on the horizon but water can feel very isolating. In my experience, having a mental health condition can also be isolating for both the person facing the challenges directly and for those who are trying to support them. As a supporter you are asked to listen and acknowledge, all the while knowing you are helpless to remove your loved ones’s pain. Yesterday I was feeling helpless being so far from the people I love the most. It was at this moment that our boat was surrounded by a pod of dolphins literally dancing around us. They were so numerous and joyful I was totally overwhelmed. Having said that, we have all been operating on very little sleep and I was almost definitely over-tired and emotional. Even when you feel most isolated you are never really alone."
A reminder that if you are ever feeling isolated or like there is no one out there who will understand, there will always be someone who will listen. Whether it's a family member, friend, colleague, or professional, please do not be afraid to talk. We want you to remember that talking should never be as hard as crossing an ocean, and that there will be someone there for you.
PAPYRUS UK have a invaluable 'HOPELINE' service, more details can be found via the link https://papyrus-uk.org/hopelineuk/
Today's daily update comes from crew member Harry Knights, who rowed with René at Imperial Boat Club.
"Port watch were woken up last night to the sound of Gareth shouting HALLIARD and several extremely loud bangs as the pole crashed repeatedly into the forestay. Then there was some commotion about a large catamaran coming towards us, which made me feel slightly apprehensive sat in the bows. I failed to get back to sleep given all this excitement so we got up, made some coffees, ate some cereal, and prepared ourselves for our 2-6am shift. There followed the usual 10 minute period of everyone stumbling over themselves and each other under the dim red lighting from our head torches. We had a chat with the other watch on deck, drank our coffees, and sailed on powered by a wide range of Genre’s from resident DJ Miki, from Frank Sinatra to Detroite House. There isn’t much moon at the moment meaning it is absolutely pitch black, apart from the occasional break in the clouds letting some starlight through.
Today, a pod of dolphins came and swam with the boat for about 20 minutes, and we caught our first fish!
Only another 2500 miles to go!"
Our crew have finally set sail and are on their way across the Atlantic. Our first daily update comes from Dan H. Dan went to City of London School with René and writes of the race start and their first two days that mark the start of the race.
"The fireworks display on Saturday night really gave the crew a sense that the race was soon to begin. Following wholesome breakfasts and last minute buying of snacks we met at the marina for a final check and some emotional goodbyes. EH01 set off towards the start line with Spanish music blaring out from the marina as hoards of people waved the fleets of departing boats. We hovered over the start line as Gareth (the skipper) worked out the best plan of action. A local battle ship set off its canon to mark the race beginning and we were off. Our spinnaker designed with Renes face looking down over us, almost as though he is looking after us, guiding us to St Lucia. Sailing straight down past the island but by 6pm we had no land in sight. Only faint shadows of other boats on the horizon. As night kicked in, and after a delicious bowl of lamb hot pot, the starboard crew (Ivo, Miki, Jimmy, Elliot and myself) began first look out. We followed the mast light of a distant boat, with everything else around in complete darkness. Plankton shine fluroescently beautifully lighting up the sea round the edge of the boat as dolphins played around and underneath the boat. The rest of the crew tried to sleep in somewhat bumpy conditions. There was switch at 10pm and another at 2am as the crew attempted to get used to managing these short shifts. A cuppa brew before the start never went amiss. We started again at 12, following a bowl of cereal and Spanish omelette, and a slightly ripped spinnaker (that was quickly repaired). The afternoon shift was a slow one until Simon decided there was not enough wind to fly his drone. All I will say is it’ll make a great home for a crab. As this is being written the sun is setting, Miki’s jazz is blaring out and the second half of the crew is waking to take over to begin the evening shifts. The Atlantic can be a very quiet and thoughtful place."
To keep updated with how our crew are getting on then have a look at https://www.worldcruising.com/arc/eventfleetviewer.aspx or download the app and search our boat 'EH01' for updates.
We'll also be posting daily updates on our blog and social media accounts. If you haven't already then please do click the 'share' button so that others can see how our crew are getting on and why a group of 8 complete novice sailors have decided to sail the Atlantic. We believe that suicide should be preventable and hope that we reach at least one person to let them know that asking for help shouldn't be as hard as crossing an ocean.
To see more from Dan and why he is sailing the Atlantic, have a look at his interview below: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qEY9Wyfi0JE
Miki is René’s friend from Bristol. They met at Bristol University in Sep 2013, stayed in the halls during their first year and then as house mates in their 2nd and 3rd year.