Stevie sails the Atlantic

A member of Bangor University staff successfully sailed the Atlantic recently to raise money for the Beaumaris Royal National Lifeboat Institution.

Stevie Scanlan, Marketing Manager at Bangor University’s College of Physical and Applied Sciences, recently took a month’s unpaid leave to complete this once in a lifetime challenge with her brother and father.

They sailed from the Canaries for Antigua in November, having spent the previous weekend preparing the 56’ yacht for the 20 day long journey.

Stevie, from Beaumaris, said: “The whole experience was amazing. It was much more of a mental challenge than a physical one, the hardest thing was getting your head around the fact that you can’t get off the boat, but now that I’ve done it I feel like I can do anything.

“I usually race keel boats here in Beaumaris and I had never done a long passage before but I wasn’t scared at all, that was the last thing on my mind.

“The highlight for me were the night watches. It was incredible, just to be in the cabin looking at the stars all around you. You feel so alone and you forget all the silly worries that preoccupy you at home, your brain relaxes, it was almost like meditation. I feel like I’ve been on a 20 day retreat and I know myself so much better!

“We laughed every day, especially when a flying fish flew into the cabin and hit my bother on the back in the middle of the night! We saw pods of whales, we had a mid-Atlantic dip with 3,000ft of water underneath us – we had so many amazing experiences. It is something that we will remember forever and I feel so lucky that I got to share it with my Dad and brother.

“Saying that, I did miss my daughter a lot, but I did get to speak to her on the satellite phone once a week. It was great to see her again when I got back to Wales.

“When we arrived in Antigua my step mother was there to welcome us with a glass of champagne. She and my father are now taking off for a year to sail around the world.

 “I have been overwhelmed by the support from my friends, colleagues and family. I have come away from this with a massive sense of achievement and I am still on a high, I don’t want it to end!”

Stevie and her family have already raised £700 for the RNLI. They are hoping to raise £1,000 before the New Year.

“I wanted to support the RNLI because all the volunteers are amazing, they all have normal jobs and drop everything to rescue people in need – that is not just sailors and people and sea, it’s also people like you and me…for example they were in St Asaph recently helping during the floods, they work incredibly long hours. They deserve all the help they can get.”

To sponsor Stevie visit http://www.justgiving.com/saraandcharlie

Publication date: 20 December 2012