Round the world sailor and co-owner of Lopolight, Jan Moeller, has spent the last two weeks filling in for our regular Oceans of Hope skipper Kristian. Jan has been an incredible addition to the crew. He is a valued supporter of the project with his LED lights from Lopolight,
Jan sailed around the world, non-stop and single-handed in 2003-2004. He is an inspiring crew member not only to those of us who are fortunate to sail with him, but especially to those listening to his amazing story. Please read his inspiring blog from on board Oceans of Hope.
Makes you wonder if there's a Jan in you too!
Blog from Jan Moeller, Oceans of Hope:
Sitting in a hotel room in New Orleans I got the call from Mikkel: “We haven't met, but I would like you to join the Oceans of Hope to fill in for skipper Kristian who is desperately in need of some R&R, we are departing from Florida going south”, it took a mere 30 seconds to decide that this was worth volunteering for.
Until then, I had observed the Sailing Sclerosis project from a distance, our company contributed with some LED navigation lights while Oceans of Hope was re-fitted in Skagen, and we had been to the naming ceremony and the departure from Copenhagen.
Not knowing one bit about MS, it was evident to us that the objective of changing the perception of MS, and being a beacon of hope to the sufferers was already working – we just had to look into the eyes of the MS crew departing for the first stage, the pride and joy shining out was deeply moving.
One month after the phone call I was meeting the rest of the crew on the dock in Ft. Lauderdale, a beautiful mix of experience, age and nationalities (although with a heavy Danish skew). Quickly Mikkel and Bertram showed us the boat, explained the rules – and send us off to work.
I was immediately surprised and impressed by the work capacity of the MS crew. Very quickly the crew themselves assessed the strengths of each other and the adequate jobs were taken on. The vessel was made ship-shape in record time. Keyword here was nobody was talking about weaknesses or disabilities, no, always the conversation was around who had the capacity to perform this or that task.
Knowing that the boots from Kristian would be big and difficult to fill, Mikkel and Bertram were kind to me and played to what I believed were my strengths and had me assigned to weather and navigational duties. It needs to be noted that my weather predictions were a bit off – and we only grounded the boat once...
Going to sea it was evident that many of us were looking hard to find our sea-legs, the first night out was a little bit rough with the winds on the nose and with quite some swell. Again, no self-pity or moaning, but if one of the crew was not able to stand his or her watch, it was said out openly and permission to stand down was given – I am 100% sure that had I insisted on keeping to the watch schedule each and everyone would have done so.
My watch was always 12 to 4, day and night. The night watch opened for many intimate conversations around our respective lives, experiences and hopes for the future.
In contrast to the many blogs I had been reading from MS sufferers prior to departure, the conversations we had those nights were about appetite for life, how to embrace all the opportunities life presents and above it all an optimism I did not see from the shore-sided blogs.
I am happy to say that friendships were formed during those night watches, and I will miss them.
We are now safely moored at Montego Bay Yacht Club and I will be leaving the Oceans of Hope, already hoping that perhaps someday they will again need a helping hand. I will be standing by.
My perception of MS certainly changed from a 'doom and gloom' outlook to one of quiet optimism and hope for my newfound friends. I wish Mikkel and his team all success; you are changing people’s lives to the better!
Over and out,
Report from Bosun Bertram:
Rasta hats and cool sun glasses bursting local slang as soon as you step off the boat. Pelicans swarming the turquoise bay surrounding the marina. Curried goat and whole deep fried red snappers on the plate in the local restaurant. Jamaica is being good to us, and we are being good to Jamaica! Oceans of Hope is lying in the Montego Bay Yacht Club where are spending the next few days. Yesterday was a much deserved resting day, but today it's back on the horse, and all of our crew is busy either organizing our provisions in the galley, cleaning the bilges, mounting our boom cover, fixing our wind generator or checking through our fire safety equipment. Not that we won't have time for a cold beer on the deck in the afternoon!
Local time on board is 11:45 and our current position is 18°27.723'N 77°56.537'W.