A little catch up!

Hello Everyone, 

I appreciate its been a while since we had a good old update…  

Since I last updated you all, things have been moving in very positive directions for all parts of this big crazy dream of mine, and much yachting has occurred, which is always a good thing to me!! 

The last thing I shared with you was my fabulous learning trip with Hugh Brayshaw of the Offshore Academy, where we took a Figaro on an adventure, but it is time for more news ..… 

So here goes;

My Uncle’s boat, Lady Nancy has come to join me up here on the East Coast thanks to the lovely people over at the Pioneer Sailing Trust. She’s been in storage for over 10 years, and is a little bit dry, but she’s still every bit a fabulous boat to me, and I’m looking forward to watching her go through the restoration process and be transformed into the boat that Jamie would’ve wanted her to be. 

All off the lorry and awaiting a lift into the Pioneer workshop

As always, learning continues to be something that I will never stop doing. I’ve added diesel engines and star gazing to my list of things to study up on, as I have started my Engineering and Ocean Yacht Master courses to make sure I am prepared for literally everything this campaign might throw at me. 

I’ve also been very fortunate to have been out sailing an awful lot over the past month or so, including trips out on the fabulous Lutine, an X55 owned by the Lloyds Yacht Club, as well as having the opportunity to train on a Class 40 that has very kindly been lent to HSR by the amazing Simon.

Lutine is quite literally stunning!
Solent blasting in the Class 40

I’ve also been back in a dinghy, something that I didn’t think would happen!! 

I raced in the GP14  in North Wales with the uber talented Justin. He very Kindly let me flounder around in the front of his GP for a weekends racing, and put up with some distinctly average reach to reach gybing (very difficult with only the 1 paw!!)

Trying to remember how to sail with Justin…

We have also been very lucky to get 2 new sponsors onboard for our journey towards the Vendee … 

The first is Marlow ropes, who have very kindly agreed to partner us all the way up to the Vendee Globe, supplying the 40 and the 60 with some fantastic rope products. Having worked with Marlow throughout my Paralympic career, I know they’re the best, so its comforting to have them supporting us in this challenge! 

The other is the fabulous TentMeals, who are providing my food. Having eaten many a disgusting rehydrated meal, its amazing to have found something thats not only tasty, but the packaging allows us to carry almost double onboard… If you haven’t heard of them, head over to their Instagram account and see what they offer ….. I can tell you that all their products we’ve tried so far have been mega tasty!! 

You may have also seen that I have been doing a fair bit of speaking… no not the normal jabbering that I do at my team every day, the after dinner and corporate kind. Now it’s not something that I’m really very comfortable with, but I’m learning and hopefully improving thanks to some wonderful coaching from Annie behind the scenes. 

Giving the after dinner talk at the Firefighters Regatta

If you follow me on Instagram you might also have seen that there is a rather snazzy shiny new prosthetic that’s been built by Izzy as her University final year project. Now those of you that really know me, know that I don’t wear a prosthetic, and that I hate the idea of wearing one for anything other than cycling, where it is a must (otherwise it results in me crawling out of various hedges around Essex!!). This prosthetic, however, has really changed my view on things… 

It’s weird seeing myself with a right arm… (Photo by Ellie Cook)

We have also finished off the first episode of the BBC documentary that will be coming out soon!! An epic few days of filming with the BBC that meant I slept around 25 minutes one day, which in reality was rather good Vendee training, and a lot of Solent romping has made for some pretty good footage, so we’re looking forward to sharing the first bit of the adventure so far with you all. 

Getting briefed by James from the BBC ahead of sailing….

After a few days of running around in the style of headless chickens, I managed to jump into a car alongside the amazing Mary Rook and head to Scarborough to coach some wonderful ladies there as part of the Magenta Project’s programme, which was a cool change of pace, and really nice to give something back. 

Mary is a total offshore rockstar, and quite literally the best to work with!!

The next event was the Women’s Open Keelboat Championships in Hamble into which we were very lucky to be able to enter a team into thanks to some stellar work behind the scenes from Oonie and the lovely CMS, one of the world’s top legal firms. With the fabulous Arthur from Sailing Logic (Arthur is a First 40, not a human), we spent an amazing 3 days training and racing, and most of all, I had the most fun I’d had in a regatta in a long time. I have all the wonderful ladies of my team, and the CMS ladies to thank for giving everything they had into the racing, for putting up with my fairly average parking, and for making our team fun!! 

My amazing HSR/ CMS team at WOKC

After the Women’s Champs, I grabbed Hannah2, and we headed off to Cardiff to see some the Volvo boats come in, and we also sneaked out to do some M32 sailing, an experience that we certainly won’t forget in a hurry- sorry Hannah2 (I told her she would be networking and not sailing that day!!)

Even writing this, I am surprised that I am currently still breathing! 

After Cardiff, I raced at the IRC Europeans with the Nifty team as their stand in tactician. Now my confidence in this arena has taken some pretty hard knocks over the years, and it’s been nothing but hard work trying to rebuild my belief in myself and to be able to stand on the back of these race boats making the calls, but recently something has made me a little braver, and I’m taking every opportunity to race that I can! Luckily for me, the crew on Nifty are all amazing, super chilled and run a pretty serious programme with a no blame culture. I actually came away from the racing having enjoyed myself immensely, and really only got out of my tree on one occasion with a leeward mark incident!! 

After the IRC’s, it was back to Essex for me, and the chance to sail with the legendary Conrad Humphreys onboard the Bounty’s End. Conrad is literally a fountain of knowledge with all things navigational and Vendee, so it was nice to enjoy a really chilled sail in my local area with him and just put the world to rights… 

Bounty’s End looking fab heading into the Creek at Brightlingsea
Grabbing a selfie with the one and only Conrad Humphreys!

So after all this, I decided to jump on a plane and head to Carcassonne and enjoy a few days rest, which was short lived… Alex has finally discovered how to work the team calendars and spent nearly an entire day sending me updates reminding me to make him a sandwich and buy him French cheese- oh well!!! 

As always, the work behind the scenes has been continuing at an alarming pace, and I’d like to take a quick moment to shout out to my gang of “grown ups”; Adriana, Hannah2, Adam, Alex, Kat, Cat and Annie for putting in some serious work to keep me rolling and keeping the search going for sponsorship, without you guys, I would be pretty useless, so thank you for everything that you do!! 

Next up for HSR is our epic climb of the O2 to raise money for Canine partners, and Round the Island Race. 

Stay tuned to our social media for all the action!! 

H x 

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