Oceans of Hope, the 20-metre yacht undertaking the first circumnavigation with a working crew of people with multiple sclerosis (MS), has arrived in Portsmouth, UK, on the latest leg of the 61,000-kilometre (33,000-nautical mile) global voyage.
During the four-day stopover Oceans of Hope will be berthed at Gunwharf Quays and people with MS will be invited to take part in a day of sailing tomorrow (Friday 4 July).
Oceans of Hope is the flagship vessel of a campaign by the same name which aims to change perceptions of MS during the course of its 17-month global journey, encouraging participation in sailing as the yacht makes its way around the world. It is a project of the Sailing Sclerosis Foundation which was set up by Danish doctor and psychotherapist, Mikkel Anthonisen.
People from all over the world can take part in the voyage. British crew member, Phil Gowers, 46, a dental surgeon and father of two from Gosport, Hampshire, will join the crew on board in Portsmouth for the next stage to La Rochelle, France.
He said, “Even when you’re faced with an incurable disease you should always have hope. Oceans of Hope is giving us something that is really a brilliant opportunity to take around the world that will really make everyone realise that we are there to be involved with life. We want to make the most of this fantastic opportunity.”
Phil explains that his view of life changed following the devastating Kings Cross fire in November 1987 in which 31 people died.
“When I was younger I was one of the last people out of the Kings Cross fire and after that my perspective on life was different. I don’t fear it; I embrace it. I think it will be really lovely for people to challenge themselves in a relatively safe environment.”
Oceans of Hope’s voyage began in Copenhagen, Denmark, on 15 June 2014 and will continue across the globe with further stops in Europe, the United States, South America, Australia and Africa, ending the circumnavigation back in Copenhagen in the autumn of 2015.
People with MS from all over the world can take part and places are still available on board throughout the journey. To find out more and to apply to take part, download the application forms.