John McCormack 1025 Views

My week on faceboat

I can say without doubt we had a win with every single one of them. The smiles we coaxed out of the kids and their teachers/carers made the personal and group effort very worthwhile. In all my time with SWD, recently and in the past, I have never felt that I and the crew have achieved so much success with a diverse range of youngsters with disabilities.

I left the team on Kayle after a crew dinner (including my wife Sue and daughter Kristen who Mark graciously invited) at the Southport Yacht Club last night. As the first of the part-timers on the Northern Campaign I had a good chance to see how the trip was coming together.

We set off from the CYC on Thursday last week and settled down into two watches with the skipper roving. We knew it was to be a fast run with the wind building on Thursday and Friday. 

As the wind built on Thursday we made good speed and during our watch on Thursday night we saw 40kts of true wind speed and hit 15.7kts boat speed with the heady and staysail up.

Gordo, Steve and I were running a bit of a competition to see who could get the most out of Kayle with Gordo winning with the 15.7 while I managed 14.7kts. Steve and I benefited from Gordo as Watch Leader who gave of his knowledge and experience with humour and professionalism.

Friday bought similar winds and we sailed rapidly up the coast. Mark was keeping a watchful eye on proceedings and stood in on the other watch when Kristi needed to get some kip. We passed the major coastal features in quick time and on Saturday morning were in Queensland waters and rounding Tweed Heads to set a course for the Gold Coast seaway arriving at Southport about 1500. After a boat tidy up we relaxed on Sunday in anticipation of the weeks work to come.

I didn’t take notes of the groups we took out during the week but can say without doubt we had a win with every single one of them. The smiles we coaxed out of the kids and their teachers/carers made the personal and group effort very worthwhile. In all my time with SWD, recently and in the past, I have never felt that I and the crew have achieved so much success with a diverse range of youngsters with disabilities.

I am confident that SWD has had a positive influence this week on many young people. For example the shy teenage girl with intellectual impairment who started the Trysail with nerves and insecurity, steered Kayle and finished by helping on the foredeck with the biggest smile. And the 13 year old lad who has had trouble containing his temper, whose carer said she had never seen him so calm and seeking to participate. The lad and carer left the boat in high spirits.

I handed over my bunk to Harry with mixed feelings. I have other commitments but also have a longing to continue north. They have some challenges, as such expeditions inevitably do, and which Mark is well able to handle.

I sent Mark a text as they departed the Gold Coast wishing them fair winds and following seas. Looking at the tracker it seems they may have them.

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    • Deb Jeffreys | 2014-07-31 15:52:03
      Thanks John for sharing - it's great to hear from a distance how SWD is creating optimism far North of Sydney
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John McCormack

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