Squalls, flying cutlery and 'ghost dolphins' - Leeds mum's adventures at sea
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Novice sailor Theresia Cadwallader is taking part in the fifth leg of the Clipper Round the World Race, which is billed as one of the biggest challenges of the natural world and an endurance test like no other.
A jeweller and former civil engineer, 60-year-old Theresia was inspired to take part in the yacht race by her son's love of sailing and the care he received when he suffered a very severe traumatic brain injury in Leeds in 2010.
She hopes the experience will not only help her to support her son in sailing once again but also raise £30,000 for hospital charity Leeds Cares to fund an ultrasound system for cranial monitoring on Leeds General Infirmary's Ward L6.
Speaking to the YEP from the Philippines, Theresia said: "The biggest challenge so far was coping with the extreme heat, about 48c below deck, maybe slightly less on deck if there was slight breeze.
"We went to sleep drenched, we woke up drenched, on deck drenched and had to do physical work on deck in the heat - that was really hard.
"When we went through a squall, we got drenched from the rain on deck. It felt so good and within half hour or so we were dry again."
Being on 'Mother Watch', when two crew members stay below deck all day to serve and cook breakfast, lunch and dinner for the 20-strong crew, can also be tough.
"If you are not used to it, it can induce seasickness," Theresia said. "When not sailing I love cooking, but staying in the galley all day is hard work.
"The thought that I’m feeding my crew mates is what keeping me going."
Theresia joined the crew of Team Dare to Lead, headed up by Leeds-born skipper Guy Waites, as they set sail from eastern Australia on January 20.
In crossing the equator, she went from being a 'polliwog' - a new sailor who has not crossed the equator - to a 'shellback'.
The original destination of the Clipper's fifth leg had been Zhuhai in China, with the leg's first race ending at the Chinese city of Sanya.
But the continuing Coronavirus outbreak forced organisers to alter the route, meaning the fleet instead headed directly to Subic Bay in the Philippines.
Theresia said: "We learnt about Coronavirus not long after we started the race. For a few weeks we didn’t know where we were going, I called it our mystery tour.
"We have limited access to the internet and some of our family members informed us of what’s going on, and we received updates from Clipper. There was nothing we could do about it until we received decision from Clipper that we were going direct to Subic Bay instead of Sanya.
"Crew who had family meeting them in Sanya became unsettled and had to make a decision and other arrangements. As a result, some decided to cut short their race and leave after the last race."
On Sunday, Theresia and the remaining crew began the next race, which takes them around the Nansei islands in Japan and back to Subic Bay.
It will take them between eight and 10 days to cover the 1,600 nautical miles, with the hope being that they will pick up more points during ocean sprints and by passing through the two scoring gates first.
During that time, the crew will take turns covering the four day watches and two night watches, which have been the source of some of Theresia's favourite moments at sea.
"Going on deck at night and being greeted by the Milky Way was pretty special," she said.
"I was also very excited when we saw what I called 'ghost dolphins'. We were at the end of our watch, we heard slushing noise along side our boat and we saw bio-luminescent waves that the dolphins had made.
"We were sailing fast and they were swimming along side our boat for at least half an hour. That was magical."
Before starting the race, Theresia had not known what to expect but she has been surprised at how quickly everyone has adapted to living on the racing yacht, with very little comfort.
She said: "There were days where we'd step foot on deck to start our watch and within the first hour-and-a-half we changed sails many times, tacked and gybed too. And then not much action for the rest of the watch or it continued throughout the watch. Everyday is different and unpredictable.
"On a calm day we could do our washing and laundry (behind the helm), read a book, write our diary, chat and get to know each other, just relaxing as well as sailing the boat.
"When we have the wind, we could be sailing really fast and we had to hold onto the railing (especially me, being the smallest) and it's a real challenge working on the winch or grinding at 45 degree angle. Even getting out of the bunk, getting dressed and moving around is a real challenge at a steep angle. This is when your core strength is really tested.
"Cooking at that angle is another challenge. During my first Mother Watch, it started on a calm day, so the boat was quite level. During late afternoon the wind picked up suddenly and we were at about 30-40 degree angle. I was chopping some vegetables when suddenly I had crockery and cutlery literally flying about."
To sponsor Theresia as she continues with her sailing challenge, visit her Virgin Money Giving page online.
What is the Clipper Race Round the World Yacht Race?
The Clipper Race is billed as one of the biggest challenges of the natural world and an endurance test like no other.
With no previous sailing experience necessary to take part, it is a record-breaking 40,000 nautical mile race around the world on 70ft ocean racing yachts.
The brainchild of Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first person to sail solo non-stop around the world, the event is now in its twelfth edition - the Clipper 2019/20 Race.
It started from London on September 1 last year and the fleet is due to complete its circumnavigation in August 2020.