1990 Whitbread Round the World Race
Member of first ever female crew
2003 Jules Verne Challenge
I have recently heard about Michael McGrath through a personal friend of mine, who as we speak, is contemplating joining Michael’s extraordinary pole2pole expedition, the inaugural event for The Muscular Help Foundation.
If I reimagine the vision that got me started, that same vision that continues to drive me forward today, I am humbled by the tremendous courage and sheer determination of Michael who despite his daily physical challenges, remains utterly focused on achieving what he has set out to do. I must remember what my vision looked like before reality filled in the many details, details that act like barnacles that slow one’s progress down. Michael’s reality provides enormous inspiration to all those whose journeys have been touched by his infectious spirit and resolve.
One must at all times look after the vessel that carries you. One might need to repair it or scrape off those contingent details that slow it down. Once clear, that pared-down vision is what drives the passion for the task at hand and what generates the inner strength needed to succeed. I’m unsure where Michael draws his own inner strength from – perhaps one day he’ll share that with me. He is a man with immense conviction, a rare spirit filled with a quiet self-belief and confidence, a positive man with a selfless vision who seeks to provide real hope particularly for families whose lives have been shattered through a loved one being diagnosed with this cruel muscle wasting disease.
For Michael, the two most important things that he has clearly already learnt are that you are as powerful and strong as you allow yourself to be, and that the most difficult part of any endeavour is taking that first step, making that first decision. Michael’s vision will I know drive him onwards in accomplishing what will certainly be a historic achievement in becoming the first disabled person in the world to have reached both Poles. With the enormous support of his team, he will slowly travel across the frozen ice of Antarctica, each step symbolising some 3 million people on this earth that needlessly suffer from this unforgiving condition.
Like Michael, allow yourself to take that first step today towards what you really want, where you really need to get to – nothing big, no fanfares. Try it … you may be surprised! I am honoured and proud to provide these words of support and wish pole2pole, Michael and his fellow colleagues a safe journey. May the wind fill your sails, may you return home triumphantly!
Tracy Edwards successfully completed the 1990 Whitbread Round the World Race – with the first ever female crew. Their yacht ‘Maiden’ became the first British yacht since 1973 to win two legs in that prestigious race. This result still remains unbeaten today. Tracy was subsequently voted ‘Yachtsman of the Year’ and awarded an MBE.
Tracy is currently putting together another Jules Verne Challenge for 2003. Although Tracy, now a mother, will not be racing with the team, she will be Project Manager for the Challenge. The team remains the same as for the Jules Verne attempt in 1998.