Setting sail into light westerly winds, Oceans of Hope has left the Netherlands bound for Portsmouth on the south coast of England, the next stopover on the first global circumnavigation by a yacht with a working crew of people with multiple sclerosis.
Bosun, Bertram Christensen says, “We have an enjoyable day ahead of us. After arriving in Ijmuiden yesterday around 2230 the crew has had time to rest and we got underway to Portsmouth at 0800 this morning.
The last 24 hours have been busy for the crew, with visits to the boat by Dutch people with MS and final preparations made to cross the North Sea and sail down the English Channel to the historic British port.
Dutch crew member Peter van Polen left the yacht after sailing from Kiel to Amsterdam and handed the baton to Tessa van den Berg for the leg to Portsmouth. Project founder Mikkel Anthonisen also stepped ashore and his place has been taken by boat manager, Jens Als Andersen, another of the core Danish team behind the project which aims to change perceptions of MS.
The crew of Oceans of Hope are making friends wherever they go, forming links between the MS and sailing communities and inspiring others to find a way to follow their dreams.
Tessa describes the day she joined Oceans of Hope in her blog, settling in to unfamiliar surroundings with people you have met just hours before. She says, “It is special to feel how quickly we have bonded.
“It seems like the whole harbour is waving, people on the dock are taking pictures. It must be an impressive sight. We motor our way out while waving and waving.”
They can be sure of a warm welcome when the 20-metre yacht arrives at Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth at 1500 on Thursday.