Smiles all round as Oceans of Hope set sail again

Oceans of Hope

Sunsail recently had the privilege of being joined by the crew members at Oceans of Hope, a charity based in the UK which organises sailing events all over the world for people with Multiple Sclerosis (MS).

MS is a chronic condition where the body attacks the brain and nervous system, leading to physical, cognitive and emotional challenges, many of which are not always obvious and are difficult to explain. Oceans of Hope brings together people with MS into a sailing environment, working collectively to overcome these challenges. Time on board a Challenge vessel leads to increased confidence and an improvement in wellbeing, giving hope for the future.

After a tough year and months of lockdown and isolation, the Oceans of Hope UK team were understandably eager to get back out on the water. With steady winds and invigorating sailing conditions, the Sunsail Port Solent base provided ideal grounds to explore the Solent and surrounding areas.  

40 incredible individuals with MS from Hampshire, Dorset and West Sussex took part in the four-day sailing event. Each day the crew left the Solent and motored out towards the Portsmouth harbour entrance. En route they undertook a man overboard drill and a quick tour guide of the harbour before bringing the sails up to get tacking! The crew were delighted and thoroughly enjoyed their experience. The team even sailed to Osbourne Bay and Bembridge when the tides and wind were in their favour.

“Before today I had never been interested in sailing, but it turned out to be the most incredible experience. I learned so much, not just about sailing, but how far-reaching MS is on our mental and physical strengths. It was a safe place for us to work through our self-doubt and to overcome it. And yet we all gave it our best shot and just had so much fun with it.” - Hilary 

“With all the stress in my life, I have to battle to get things done. Just being with people like me, my stress has been forgotten about for the moment. I've never been this relaxed since my MS started.” - Gary

To hear more from people living with multiple sclerosis who took part in the sailing day organised by the charity Oceans of Hope UK, tune into the H20 podcast, compiled and presented by Neil Sackley.

The Oceans of Hope Challenges are inspired by the circumnavigation on board Oceans of Hope, a 67-foot racing boat founded and undertaken by Dr Mikkel Anthonisen and his Danish team. More than 100 people with MS from around the world were lucky to have been selected to be part of an MS crew to complete this tremendous feat. See www.oceansofhope.org for more information.

One participant, Robert Munns, was so inspired by his time on board that since 2015 he has been responsible for this next chapter in the Oceans of Hope story. With events scheduled throughout the year and across the world, Oceans of Hope provides a fantastic opportunity to learn new skills and meet others with MS. Previous sailors have felt a real sense of achievement and a sense too that they are no longer fighting MS on their own.

If you would like to get involved, get in touch via: [email protected]

For more information please visit: www.oceansofhope.co.uk

Facebook: oceansofhopechallenge
Instagram: oceansofhopechallenge
Twitter:@OOHChallenge

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