A group of individuals all living with multiple sclerosis (MS) have won a prestigious sailing award at the opening evening of the Southampton Boat Show. The Sailing Today Awards have acknowledged Brighton-based Robert Munns and his Oceans of Hope Challenge, which saw him beat Dame Ellen McArthur’s Round Britain, the Arc 2016 and the Oyster World Rally. His win in the ‘Best Cruise’ category is set to pave the way for more adventures for those living with MS.
In May last year Robert took 75 adults with MS from 15 countries on a sailing challenge in Croatia. He devised the ‘Cruise’ because as someone with MS himself, he wanted to give others the same life affirming experience he had whilst sailing with Sailing Sclerosis on the yacht appropriately named Oceans of Hope.
Winning this award Robert said 'This is totally unbelievable and amazing. I can’t thank the readers of Sailing Today enough for acknowledging all of our efforts.'
'My MS diagnosis in 2008 was life changing, but by creating a sailing adventure I realised that I could help to change the perception of MS by showing others that there is life after diagnosis. It is possible that in just one week, people with a chronic condition can be empowered to conquer their individual challenges,' he added.
The Oceans of Hope Challenge in May was a flotilla of 10 sailing boats. The aim was to bring people together whose lives are touched by MS. The week-long adventure gave participants the opportunity to challenge themselves making the impossible possible, whilst working together for a common goal. On a flotilla sailing challenge, each person has the chance to take command of the boat and their lives, and everyone has a valuable part to play, as well as contributing to an enjoyable life at sea.
On accepting the award, crew member, Nicola Kaufman, said 'It’s amazing to receive such recognition from the sailing community and to know that word is spreading about the wonderful life changing opportunities the Oceans of Hope Challenge offers people living with MS'
Robert is now working on a series of challenges for 2018. To do all of this he is looking for more volunteer support and the un-enviable task of raising £30,000 to make it happen.
If you know of anyone that will benefit from the Oceans of Hope Challenge then please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information go to https://youtu.be/d2sMqPeEEA8 or visit www.oceansofhope.org/circumnavigation/news/2016/always-wanted-to-sail.