Atlantic mission for pensioners
Janet Sainsbury and Keith Gibbs will be out to show there is no replacement for experience when they race across the Atlantic next week.
At 68 and 73, Sainsbury and Gibbs will be the oldest couple competing in the two handed transatlantic yacht race – a gruelling race from Plymouth in Devon to Newport in Rhode Island on the east coast of America.
It should take them three weeks and Sainsbury was looking forward to the experience against 11 other boats.
“I think it’s the first time they have done this race as far as I know,” she said.
“There used to be a one-handed race called the one star but this is the first two handed one.
“We had to qualify for it by doing other two handed races and have done two around Britain before, although those were done in stages which was actually just as difficult.
“We take two-hour shifts at a time and then we swap over.
“Sometimes, we are both up for meals but a lot of the time it is two hours sailing and then two hours sleeping so you don’t actually see that much of each other.
“There’s a lot you have to take with you, most notably fresh food for about a week and then tinned stuff from then on, as well as plenty of water as we don't have a water maker.”
Sainsbury and Gibbs met 15 years ago when Sainsbury joined Channel Sailing Club, which meets at Epsom Sports Club in Woodcote Road, with members travelling to Portsmouth or Chichester every few weeks to go out in their boats.
The pair have prepared for the race by going to the gym as Sainsbury recovers from a back operation and Gibbs from a small procedure on his heart.
“There’s no real prize for winning except maybe a medal, it’s more about the kudos of competing,” added Sainsbury.
“It’s not really a competition but it would be nice to win, we are not expecting to but you never know.”