One Man, One Boat, 4000 Miles!!!

Tropic 4 Cancer Trans Atlantic challenge is an expedition to sail single-handed 4000 miles across the Atlantic, from the western seaboard of Africa to Antigua. The route follows a defined course along the Tropic of Cancer, which is a circle of latitude running around the Earth at approximately 23 degrees north, and which marks the most northerly position at which the sun may appear directly overhead. Find Out More

Day 26 – “To Mum”.

Posted on November 28th, 2013

Today would have been Mum’s birthday.

This journey was always all about Mum and what happened to her. I started out from Gibraltar exactly 2 years after she died, and ideally I wanted to finish the crossing on her Birthday, today. But that was always going to be difficult to achieve.

Since I was a boy, I’ve wanted to undertake a solo ocean crossing, inspired by reading about Knox Johnson, Chichester and others. Now with a family and other commitments, I had pretty much ruled out having the time to do so. Mum’s illness changed that, and gave me the drive and determination to make something good out of a horrid situation.

Mum was an incredibly intelligent person, caring and thoughtful. She was quite traditional in some of her thinking, but was liberal and progressive too. She was also an advocate of a healthy lifestyle, and as a Doctor treating diabetes promoted many aspects of a proper balanced diet many years before they became mainstream. She was also a passionate anti-smoker, and that she should have been affected by lung cancer is the cruellest and most bitter of ironies.

We all miss Mum, and being able to share with her what is happening in our lives. For me personally, this time on-board ‘Haskapa’ has given me the time to process what happened to Mum. I now realise that did not allow myself to grieve at the time, and I have found myself feeling incredibly raw emotionally as I now deal with her death and what it means.

To my young children, who barely got to know her, Mum is ‘Granny in the Sky’. They think of her as a star, which is linked to a version of the circle of life that stemmed from fending off awkward questions from our very bright and inquisitive daughter:

‘Daddy, where do babies come from?’
‘Mummy’s tummy’
‘Was I always in Mummy’s tummy then?’
‘Where was I before that then?’
‘Ummmm…..well, you were a twinkle in my eye!’
‘Like a twinkle star?’
‘Err….yup, that’s exactly right…..!’

And so for her, we all start and finish as stars, which is okay as a belief system for a little girl.

And it works for for me too. Sailing along under starlit skies each night, I also like the idea that Mum is a star, looking down at me bobbing around in the ocean.

To Mum.

And to all Mums.