“There’s this moment when the motor shuts off and all I hear becomes the boat skimming over water and sails catching the wind. It is one of my favorite sounds and feelings in the entire world .”
– LizzyThe story of the Sailing Unicorn
Lizzy Grim is a lover of mischief and adventure and sparkles and magic, hence her nickname as the Sailing Unicorn. While Lizzy will be racing halfway around the world with the Clipper organization, none of this crazy adventure would have ever entered Lizzy’s life without sailing right at home with her mom and biggest champion, Elly.
Lizzy and Elly are survivors of relationships that siphoned away the will to self-care. Elly rekindled her love of sailing during Lizzy’s first year of college after spending decades off the water because of the restraints imposed in a relationship Elly found the courage to separate from. Lizzy faced her own divorce at the age of 24 when she saw the world as she understood it shatter. At the lowest point in her life, Lizzy decided she didn’t want to live in a world of pain anymore but we are so thankful to have her still here with us. As a way to distract Lizzy during this process, Elly brought Lizzy on a friend’s boat. It was on this boat that Lizzy’s own love of sailing was born. Because of Elly’s encouragement, Lizzy healed partially due to heeling and became the sailor she is today.
For Lizzy and Elly, sailing provided a supportive community that allowed them to bloom into the sailors and women they are today. Sailing gave Elly a way to be active despite an ongoing RA battle. For Lizzy, it gave her a place to quiet her mind and be present among the wind and the waves. Lizzy has fallen in love with racing and when she's not actively on a boat is probably daydreaming about sailing, usually over-thinking what happened on the last spinnaker hoist. ;) Sailing, for them, became a way to feel more alive.
Clipper Round the World is a yacht race that sails, wait for it, around the world! Founded by Sir Robin Knox-Johnson, the first man to solo-circumnavigate the world non-stop in 1969, Clipper Round the World is a race made up of 12 identical 70-foot stripped-down, ocean-racing yachts. Unlike most round-the-world sailboat races, Clipper racers can be ordinary people with an out-of-the-ordinary sense of adventure. Around 40% of racers have never sailed before, and that’s 100% okay. All racers go through 4 weeks of intensive on-the-boat training before sailing in the actual race. The entire circumnavigation takes approximately 11 months and is composed of 8 different legs. For racers like our Sailing Unicorn who aren’t ready to make the time and financial commitment to go for the whole 11 months, they can apply to do one or several legs of the race.
Lizzy signed up for legs 7 and 8 which will see her leaving home, sweet Seattle on a Clipper 70 to sail through the legendary Panama Canal, into New York City, and cross the “pond” otherwise known as the Atlantic Ocean to Northern Ireland before the entire race finishes in Liverpool, England. Lizzy chose these legs for two reasons.
1) The idea of leaving her home in Seattle via sailboat and winding up in England just seems freaking cool.
2) Lizzy’s heritage is English and Irish and it will be impactful to sail into New York Harbor past the Statue of Liberty like her descendants did decades earlier and then sail back to the countries her ancestors came from.
Lizzy decided that in addition to raising money for the berth fee for the two legs she’s doing she wants to raise awareness and funds for two organizations that matter dearly to her. Though strides have been made there is still a great amount of stigma around mental health that makes it challenging for those with difficulties to get care. There is still not a cure for Rheumatoid Arthritis and while strides have been made in medications that can help slow the progression of the disease they are very costly and out of reach for many. The two chosen organizations are The National Alliance on Mental Illness (https://www.nami.org/
) and The Arthritis Foundation (https://www.arthritis.org/
). These organizations have been chosen as they have been resources for Lizzy and Elly during their own battles and have a proven record of being good stewards they receive. Lizzy plans to donate any funds raised in excess of the berth fees to these two organizations so that they may continue the work they are doing and raise awareness for these important causes.
The cost of participating in the legs of Clipper that Lizzy wants to participate is 19,500 GBP or approximately $25,000 US dollars at the current exchange rate (as of 7/20/2018) as broken down below.
Four weeks training in Gosport, UK including crew kit (outerwear/foulies and some safety gear): 6,000 GBP
Leg 7: West Coast North America - Panama – East Coast North America: 6,500 GBP
Leg 8: East Coast North America- Canada- European Port – UK: 7,000 GBP
This GoFundMe is but one of many ways to fundraise, but since some generous souls have asked it is now one of the components of the fundraising plan with more to come. Donate what you are willing to help Lizzy make this happen. Every dollar helps, and if you want to set up recurring donations it can only help the cause. Lizzy has already started an Instagram account to chronicle her sailing adventures and plans to use this to track the Clipper adventure as well!https://www.instagram.com/sailingunicorn426/
Clipper Round The World website: https://www.clipperroundtheworld.com/
TL;DR: Lizzy is tackling one heck of a sailing adventure to give anxiety and depression and arthritis the middle finger.