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Isle of Wight Man completes unique transatlantic crossing for Diabetes UK

Professional sailor Adam Pereira has arrived home in Cowes after becoming the first person with Type 1 diabetes to complete a transatlantic crossing on his own. 

A truly unique challenge, Adam set off for New York from the Royal London Yacht Club in Cowes on Saturday 17 June to fundraise for Diabetes UK. 

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After 11 long weeks at sea and battling strong winds, and sometimes, no wind at all, Adam sailed the distance of 7,000 nautical miles to the Statue of Liberty and back. He dropped anchor off Liberty Island on Saturday 5 August at 7.29 in the morning, and the Royal London Yacht Club sounded the horn with three honks on Monday 4 September at 2:05pm to celebrate his arrival back in Cowes.

Sailor from Ventnor

Adam is from Ventnor on the Isle of Wight and his nautical achievements include the Sydney Hobart race (first in maxi class) and Cowes Week overall winner Black group (legendary Panther Team). 

Adam was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when he was 33. He said: “This is by far the longest distance I’ve ever covered in a boat and the toughest thing I’ve ever done. The conditions were so hard – over the course of the voyage, there were two weeks of no wind that I had to endure in a boat adrift with sail down. At one point, in a storm 200 miles offshore the East Coast, when I was in a bad place mentally, two dragon flies suddenly came out of nowhere and as unbelievable as it seems, these delicate insects gave me strength to continue. 

“Meditation helped me through the worst times. It really feels like the actual sailing was a tiny part of the challenge in retrospect. It was a challenge of mental strength and toughness. But, there were some incredible moments too: like the amazing moon which was almost ethereal and the dolphin that accompanied the boat!

Takapu is part of me now

“Takapu, the boat, is a part of me now. I want to offer an opportunity for young people with diabetes to go sailing. By doing this challenge, I want to inspire people who have diabetes to follow their dreams and don't let the condition stand in their way.”

The 49-year-old will take a break for a month and then think about his next challenge. 

He added: “I was very sorry to miss my brother’s wedding by a few days, though I think I had a good excuse! I’m very grateful to everyone who helped in the US leg of the trip, my amazing son, Zeus, my mum and dad.  Their support kept me going through the tough times.”

£7 million invested every year

Diabetes UK is the leading charitable funder of diabetes research in the UK, investing around £7 million every year to bring about life-changing breakthroughs in care, treatment and prevention, ultimately bringing us closer to a cure. 

Charlotte Harrison-Webb, Regional Fundraiser for Diabetes UK in the South East said: “Talking to Adam about his once-in-a-lifetime experience has been so inspiring. Adam’s story is just incredible.  No-one with Type 1 diabetes has ever sailed single-handed across the Atlantic. He battled through some very tough conditions and we are all very proud of him. His message is this: Don’t let diabetes get in your way. Go and achieve your dream – just like Adam has.”

Adam completed his Yachtmaster Ocean qualification at Cowes-based maritime training centre and charity UKSA. Ben Willows, UKSA’s CEO said: “Adam’s transatlantic crossing is an impressive feat and on behalf of UKSA, I would like to congratulate him on this fantastic achievement. Single-handed sailing can be tough for anyone, but for Adam to successfully complete the crossing from Cowes to New York, whilst managing his diabetes, is exceptional.”

Rodney Barton, Trustee at the Royal London Yacht Club in Cowes, said: “Congratulations Adam.  His achievement is truly amazing. We tracked every day of his 79-day journey and we are proud of him”.

Adam in New York

Watch Adam's video filmed while he was in New York, half way through his voyage Watch Adam's New York video.

 

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