Foreword for /on equal terms

By Sir Chay Blyth CBE BEM

When Susan Preston Davis first asked me to consider a disabled crew for one of the Challenge Yachts I thought the idea impossible. We were preparing for the worlds toughest yacht race yet devised which takes no prisoners and certainly no passengers and if they did compete and fail, whose fault would it be but mine. Worse still, if there was a serous accident or loss of life I'd be hanged, as I am directly responsible for the interviewing, selecting and training of every crew volunteer and skipper going on these races.

Yet, curiously, the more I thought about it, the more the idea actually appealed. Throughout my life I have always believed we are all responsible for ourselves and if these disabled yachtsmen and women believed they could compete who was I to stop them.

Time & Tide deserved their place at the starting line because they should be there -- and how right they were.

Achievement in any walk of life is about belief in yourself and as I write my thoughts turn to those I served with in The Parachute Regiment who faced and successfully endured great hardship and adversity in the performance of their duty.

I also think about the indomitable Douglas Bader who, despite losing both legs in a flying accident before the Second World War, went on to distinguish himself in the fight against the Nazis.

The climber Norman Croucher, twice voted Man of the Year, is another example of the strength of the human spirit. He too lost his legs and yet he is one of the few to have conquered Everest, the highest mountain in the world - a feat most able-bodied people can only wonder at.

What marks Douglas Bader, Norman Croucher, those men of The Parachute Regiment and now the crew of Time & Tide out from the rest is their unshakeable belief in themselves. It is for others to doubt, just as I did, and it is a lesson for us all.

The Time & Tide crew have had a wonderful adventure and a trilling race. Their story will, I am sure, encourage other disabled to pick up the gauntlet of life's challenges and, with equal determination, succeed.

I am delighted to write this foreword and am grateful for the opportunity to add my tribute to the skipper and crew of Time & Tide who proved so conclusively, for all the world to see, that if you want to do something enough you will do it. It has been an honour to know and work with them - I salute them.