As you all know I live in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia and am passionate about the place that made me ‘swallow the anchor’ after 20 years living out of a bag as a professional sailor. Since coming to Canada 7 years ago I have discovered a corner of the world that is not only beautiful and filled with possibilities but is also home to the most wonderfully generous and kind people I have ever met.
Nova Scotia, however, has been hard hit in 2020 not only by the COVID 19 restrictions that threaten to close many small and medium businesses but also by some utterly terrible stories in the news that have put a grey pall over this summer.
If I have learned one thing though while living here, it is that Nova Scotians do not roll over when trouble comes knocking. Historically, fishing has been the major economic engine in this Province and the incredibly tough conditions that the ocean in this part of the world presents has created a people who are tougher and more tenacious than any I have ever met. This is literally the land of ‘Wooden ships & Iron men’ and it shows.
For my part, my company Spartan Ocean Racing has been flat out, stopped in its tracks by COVID; none of the regattas we normally compete in are happening and interest in our open water voyages has dried up entirely.
Some might be brow-beaten by this situation but such an attitude would seem somewhat out of place for a company called, ‘Spartan’ based out of a Province that never backs down from a challenge.
So, this is how I see it. Nova Scotia now needs the sea to once again provide: provide income, provide jobs, provide tourism and most importantly provide strong opportunities for 2021 to be a come-back year.
It is a fact that for all those businesses that can get to the spring of next year without folding, (my own included) we need people far and wide to be coming to Nova Scotia, to experience the beautiful landscape, to share in all the wonderful activities that are possible here and to help us celebrate 100 years of the ‘Bluenose’- the Canadian racing legend that was launched in Lunenburg, in 1921.
So. I am a sailor. I sail. It’s all I know how to do and after 300,000Nm or so and two racing circumnavigations of the planet my instinct now is- how can I help with the tools I have?
How can I take the things I know how to do and make them a benefit not just to me to help me climb out of this global situation but also help the Province. How can I help to promote Nova Scotian business, help promote economic and help promote a positive message that resonates within the community that has already given me so much.
My only answer is I have to sail and whatever it is – it better be epic.
Therefore in October of this year, I intend to push myself and my skills to the utter limit of what is possible in sailing and attempt to take the Solo, Non-Stop, West Around the World Outright Speed Record.
The record was set 16 years ago any Jean Luc Van Den Heede, a colossus in sailing and one of the stars of French offshore sailing. His record has been unassailed for all those years because not to put too fine a point on it- it’s a barely possible feat; indeed the nickname for this Westabout route around the world is ‘The Impossible Voyage’. I may have been the 182nd person ever to sail solo, East around the world 10 years ago but only 5 people have EVER completed a solo, non-stop Westerly circumnavigation.
To mark this momentous trip and the spirit behind it- my Open 60- previously ‘Falcon’ has been renamed ‘The Pride of Nova Scotia’ and it is my hope that international media attention I can draw for this record attempt will create well-deserved attention for Nova Scotia and all of the opportunities for vacation, adventure and business that exist here in 2021.
I will be writing much more about this in upcoming blogs but for now, if you wish to find out more background details go to www.spartanoceanracing.com/novascotia
Or check out my latest podcast which has the whole story: ‘The Mariner’ Podcast
If you would like to support the fundraising that is necessary now to buy the last few components to allow the ‘The Pride of Nova Scotia’ to set off around the world in October please consider becoming a patron here on Patreon.