Phoebe Chaplin joined her friend Matilda to sail for the first time in the East Kent Coast OGA ( The Association for Gaff Rig Sailing )August cruise. After a ‘fun day’ in Ipswich wet dock , the fleet of around 30 gaff – rigged sailing boats set out on their annual week- long cruise down the coast to Brightlingsea. With different moorings and anchorages each night , it’s a great challenge for a first -time sailor, but for Phoebe even more so as she is learning to live with Type 1 diabetes, after being diagnosed at the age of 11.
Phoebe sets a great example with her ‘can do’ attitude and her advice is ‘to go out and try new things !’

Here’s Phoebe’s story –

I was extremely fortunate to be part of the crew on ‘Cygnet of London’ in August this year for the OGA. I was offered this fantastic opportunity by my friend Matilda. Initially my parents and I were a little worried about the whole idea , mainly because I have not really sailed before ,but also I have the added complication of being a Type 1 diabetic. I was diagnosed at the age of 11 in June 2016 and so I am still in the relatively early stages of learning and living with this life changing condition.
I have been on ferries and canoes but nothing like a sailing boat before and so was apprehensive about the sailing lifestyle and how I would manage with potential seasickness and also living in a confined space for a whole week !My parents and I agreed that it was such a fantastic opportunity that I would be silly to say no. We were also very reassured to find out that Sharon would also be sailing on the ‘Cygnet’ and has worked as a diabetes nurse for many years .This clinched the deal.
I found the whole experience amazing and was in awe of the scenery , the boats and loved the social aspect of meeting so many different people who all share a passion for sailing. It is a completely different lifestyle to the one that I am used to , but one that I would love to be a part of again if I am given the chance. My confidence grew during the week and I came away with a basic knowledge of sailing.
My advice to anyone living with type diabetes would be to go out and try new things and don’t be afraid to do the things you want to do. Yes , it’s hard and maybe a little complicated , but as long as you are prepared for any eventuality and equipped with everything you need then anything is possible.

Phoebe sailed on ‘Cygnet of London’, a beautiful gaff yawl built in 1906.To find out more about the OGA East Coast Cruise please visit – and ‘Cygnet of London’ on the OGA website.