The Ellen MacArthur Trust Skandia Round Britain Voyage set sail from Cowes on the Isle of Wight on a four month long ‘Voyage of Discovery’. Hundreds of people and small craft came to Cowes to see the young crew set off.
On-board for leg one of the voyage was Trust patron Dame Ellen MacArthur and five young people, all who have sailed with the Trust before and are in recovery from cancer and leukaemia. Ellen was just 19 herself when she first sailed solo around Britain on the her 21ft sailing boat “Iduna” and will be sailing on a number of legs of the Voyage;
“I’m absolutely over the moon to be off and to be sharing this moment with the five young people - Harriet, Joseph, Jack, Rachel and Chloë - who will be sailing on the first leg of this trip.
The Ellen MacArthur Trust Skandia Round Britain Voyage of Discovery mirrors Ellen MacArthur's first solo round Britain voyage in her 21ft yacht, Iduna in 1995.
At the end of the day, their enjoyment is the most important element and it is lovely that that has now begun. The work and generosity that has gone into The Ellen MacArthur Trust Skandia Voyage of Discovery project is second to none, the team at the Trust have been tireless in their preparation and a big thanks to everyone who has helped to get us to the start line.”
The Ellen MacArthur Trust Skandia Round Britain Voyage involves 85 young people across 17 legs, sailing the 48 foot yacht Scarlet Oyster the 2000 nautical miles around Britain on a four month voyage stopping at 17 ports around Great Britain including; Brighton, Dover, London, Ipswich, Hull, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Inverness, Glasgow, Belfast, Douglas, Liverpool, Cardiff, Torquay and Southampton finishing in Cowes on 13 September. As with all of the Trust’s activities, it will focus on rebuilding their confidence and most importantly, having fun.
Throughout the voyage the young people will be returning to the paediatric oncology wards of the hospitals they were treated in to talk to those currently undergoing treatment for cancer about their experience and show that there is a lot to look forward to.
Piers Rowlandson, FRCP FRCPCH Medical Consultant to the Ellen MacArthur Trust and Consultant paediatrician at St Mary's Hospital, Isle of Wight
“Each young person sailing on this voyage faced huge challenges at an early age, and for others undergoing treatment for cancer to hear such positive stories will be very special. The opportunity the Ellen MacArthur Trust Skandia Round Britain Voyage is giving all the young people taking part is something positive they can look back on for years to come.”
Follow the progress of this inspirational voyage online at www.roundbritain.org where a Geovoile interactive tracking map will update the boat’s position every hour, and have the ability for visitors to watch video, listen to audio and read crew blogs flagged from where the content was sent.
You can also show your support for the Trust by donating £10 and ‘buying a mile’ of the Voyage through the website or by calling 0870 0636774. A virtual yacht has been created to track fundraising online and each donation will move it forward one mile.
Leg one crew:
Cath Vise – Skipper
Karen Fraser- Mate
Dan Monk – Ellen MacArthur Trust Ambassador
Dame Ellen MacArthur
Jack Clark (17, from Haslemere)
Harriet Wills (15, from Southampton)
Joseph Cunningham (12, from Dartford)
Chloe Parsons (17, from Kingston Upon Thames)
Rachel Blackford (17, from Swindon).
photos Janos Schmidt