Sail a Tall Ship from bed or armchair!

Sailonline Tall Ship Racing 2016

How about racing a Tall Ship from your bed or armchair?  

If your imagination has ever been captured by the sight of a Tall Ship in a film or documentary, or even when reading Patrick O’Brien’s Aubrey & Maturin series, you will have wanted to experience sailing one.

This summer an online virtual sailing navigation organisation, Sailonline, will be sailing four different tall ships against the Class A vessels, like Jubilee Sailing Trust ship, Lord Nelson in the 2016 Tall Ships Races organised by Sail Training International.
LORD NELSON TALL SHIP
 
Here’s the info from Sailonline:   

TallShips_ICON

Why am  telling you all this?  Simply because I have been a volunteer OPS Admin with Sailonline since 2010 and finding Sailonline, shortly after my medical situation began requiring me to spend my time mostly at home, has been like a lifeline to me.  Whether you have been unwell for a very long time, or like me now, mostly at home and on-bed, after previously being out/about, working, travelling overseas and generally active in the real world, to find a way to engage with that real world beyond one’s doorstep while accepting the curtailing of “normal life” can be very challenging.   Sailonline gives everyone with an internet connection access to the real world of sailing.

Sailonline is a free to play wind navsim sail-racing game.  It has quite an old-fashioned UI, but this disguises a sophisticated and very realistic platform.  By racing here, you can easily learn the basics of sailing navigation and even how to use routing software, such as that used in great round-the-world races, like the Volvo Ocean Race or the Clipper RTW Race.  Routing software speeds up the manual calculation of chosen routes and fine tunes it in a fraction of the time it would take if you were to use spreadsheets or a calculator, which is why it is an essential for all yachties planning on venturing further afield than their local waters.

Sailonline uses NOAA wind files (Gribs), updated 4x a day and winds are fed into each race at 10min intervals so you really are sailing in as close to real-time conditions as possible.  Many SOLers around the globe are sailors in reality, racing or cruising a range of boat types, although not many have sailed a Tall Ship, and frequently say that their nav skills have improved from racing on Sailonline.  By learning about yacht racing on Sailonline, I can now happily eavesdrop (via YouTube/Livestream) on conversations between yachties and know what they are talking about!

As you can tell I am very happy to be associated with Sailonline, as without it I am sure, over the past years of being mostly housebound and unable to socialise or get out/about in reality, I would have been far less mentally stimulated and would never have dreamed of being able to (sail) race the world and feel part of a wider sailing community as I do now.

The Tall Ship series on Sailonline is a brilliant way for sailors / SOLers to experience just what it was like to sail the oceans in the early days of sailing and seafaring.  You can begin to comprehend why harbours were built where they were and why ships sailed specific routes, not just by reading but by doing.  For anyone interested in the history of ships and marine architecture, these races really shouldn’t be missed.

So do come and check it out for yourself.

SOL_BUT
 P.S. something else I’ve been teaching myself to do purely as a result of Sailonline is … basic graphics!  Look at the Sailonline homepage and you can see a little of my “work”!!

If you haven’t yet visited my website, please do so.

My Website

@joannekarma
#RCtheParrot

78 days… and counting…Life after Parkinson’s

It is now 78 days since I announced my Life After Parkinson’s.

For me, right now, as I sit here on my bed, contemplating my day (which will include Sailonline admin-ing and racing, as well as getting to the post office with another knitted cotton prosthesis for KnittedKnockersUK), I am sharply reminded of one of the major differences between life as a relatively healthy person, and life for someone coping with the uncertainties of disease/disability. This is the ability to make plans, to set deadlines.. make commitments.

My life with parkinsonism was consigned into my history 78 days ago, when my spirits were released from the psychological cage of that diagnosis.  Along with undoubted joy in the sense of once more having a “future” is the need to be able to make plans, to agree to meet people or have them visit me, to be able to engage in conversation/socialise, physically sit in a cinema to watch a movie, to get on with living outside of virtuality!

Most of the motor and non-motor symptoms that I have lived with for the past 9 years are continuing, as NewNeuro said they would.  As I reduce the parkinson’s medication, though, logic dictates that those symptoms listed as side-effects should diminish but, nine years of chemically altering my brain’s functionality and the “soup” it is bathed in, means that no-one can be sure of the outcome.

To be told to expect no improvement and possible worsening of current neuro symptoms and the arrival of new ones is definitely challenging, so, typically, I do not wish to accept it while already re-strategising how I will cope.

***CURRENT GOALS***

My aim in the short(er) term is to find a way to manage those symptoms that prevent me getting out/about and physically engaging in the world, as well as those that prevent me from reorganising/managing my wee hovel.

In the longer term I wish to be able to make plans again!  Realistic ones that I know I can keep to, without my having to suspend eating/medication and risk bowel obstruction.  Plans that can happen without my having to ensure a “safe” destination.  Things I can do for more than half an hour or so, before I begin to feel unwell.

Meanwhile….there is some good news!

I think my senses of smell and taste are returning!

Why do I think this?  Well… the other day I smelled accurately for the first time in about 7 years!  It sounds peculiar, maybe, but when you know how something should smell and have spent recent years not smelling anything or smelling something foul instead, to smell a genuine, recalled aroma is a real joy!!    I actually did smell the coffee (after I had made it!).  AND a couple of days ago I could also taste lemons in some lemon curd!  I know these are only random aromas/tastes but it must be a sign of some kind of awakening!

At best it will be another 12 weeks or so before I am completely weaned off Stalevo.  At that point, there will be a better sense of how I am going to be and, hopefully, I should be able to develop strategies to get back into the real world more frequently.

So…. watch this space!

@oannekarma
#RCtheParrot

 

July 2015 – how am I doing? Life after Parkinson’s

It is not often that after living with and being medicated for Parkinson’s Disease for 9 years that someone is told that their suspicions of not having PD are confirmed.  I am extraordinarily lucky as this happened to me in the late Spring of 2015 –  see my announcement here

I appear to be heading into summer 2015 still mostly housebound, and continuing to be involved as Volunteer Admin with Sailonline , knitting for charities, following aviation/space adventures via social media, watching sporting events and my favourite crime dramas on TV etc., but with no clue what the future holds.  No plans of any kind are possible and life is a day-to-day affair.

Once I am weaned off all parkinson’s drugs we will see.  For now, having dropped 3 of my 8 daily doses of Stalevo, I am trembling/shaking more than I have done in 9 years and I have to sleep with windows and curtains open as I have become majorly claustrophobic.  I have been warned not to expect my motor/non-motor symptoms to change much or improve but.. such “a paperbag future” is not one I propose to accept.

New Neuro has now revised his weaning-off-Stalevo schedule down from -1 dose every 7-10 days to -1 dose every 5-6 weeks!!  Perhaps he should have paid more attention to my reminding him of my well-known lifelong sensitivity to prescription drugs before setting me off on a fairly radical path.

Having come to terms with what had been called an “exotic form” of parkinson’s, and developing a relevant support infrastructure for that condition, it is now very isolating to have that all completely cut away.  I remain physically no different from a few weeks ago, but am now having to dig deeper than ever into my resources of self-reliance as I no longer “belong” (thank goodness!!) in the world of Parkinson’s Disease
.
The adventure continues!

Joe_Hawaii_RC

@oannekarma
#RCtheParrot