Posted on Thursday 17 October 2013
Hannah Coles at the helm
Determined Guy’s and St Thomas’ community speech and language therapist Hannah Coles takes achieving personal goals very seriously. Joining an international crew of amateur sailors she clocked up more than 5,000 miles crossing the Atlantic Ocean in the first leg of a round-the-world boat race.
Hannah, 29, achieved a life-long ambition when she helped sail a 70-foot yacht from London to Rio de Janeiro alongside 18 amateur sailors aged 18 to 64, and one professional skipper.
Sailing enthusiast Hannah embarked on her epic journey from St Katharine Docks on 1 September. After spending five gruelling weeks at sea racing against 11 boats, Hannah arrived in Brazil exhausted but in high spirits on 9 October.
Hannah, who has returned to her work helping children and young people in Lambeth and Southwark schools improve the way they communicate and express themselves, says: “There were many challenges on this journey but it was such an incredible adventure - a once in a lifetime opportunity.
“At one point we were stuck in a section of the ocean known as the ‘The doldrums’ where there is very little wind so we didn’t move for 12 days. Temperatures got up to 45°C on deck and it was even hotter below deck.
"It's times like these that you remember how important it is to pull together as a team to get through the tough times."
Asked what the highlight of her journey was Hannah says: “Pushing myself to climb up a 100 foot mast - even though I’m scared of heights - and seeing the most beautiful view of the ocean.”
Hannah was allowed to take leave to go on her remarkable adventure by her supportive manager, Miranda Macaulay who says: "This is a fantastic achievement which shows Hannah's determination and dedication. Well done to her."