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News breakers set sail

Reporters take to the seas in an adventure of a lifetime, writes Sarah Olowofoyeku

Navigating life is not always plain sailing

TWO former news rivals reunite on the high seas as they embark on a journey round the coastline in Channel 5’s new series Britain by Boat. Former newsreader Michael Buerk and political journalist John Sergeant meet for the first time in 30 years to tackle some of Britain’s choppiest waters.

In the first episode, broadcast yesterday (Friday 23 November), the two amateur sailors readied themselves to get on board the Bonaventure, a 50-foot, 22-tonne yacht.

The first leg of their four-week voyage consisted of a journey of a few days from Lowestoft, past Felixstowe and Brightlingsea, to Bradwell and finally through ‘the shallows and swirling currents of the Thames Estuary’ to Ramsgate.

Before they set sail, Michael explained that this adventure was ‘a long way outside my comfort zone’. But after a rousing musical send-off from a group of shanty boys, John remarked: ‘That’s set me up for the day. I feel now we can conquer the ocean.’

The two men, plus their professional sailor assistants Mungo and Stella, enjoyed a smooth start to the trip, but it wasn’t long before disaster struck.

The engine overheated and the crew were forced to return to the port. They were grateful that repairs were possible and the sailing could continue down in Brightlingsea.

Though Michael and John had been getting along, the rivalry between the two former reporters reared its head at the helm of the yacht as the pair bickered over terminology – ‘helm’s a lee or lee’s helm’.

Their final day of sailing proved to be the most challenging as the pair faced hidden sandbanks, narrow channels and a treacherous tide. They also crossed one of the busiest shipping routes on the planet, an ‘unforgiving stretch of water’.

Before leaving port, John said: ‘I think today we’ve got to work together.’ It was clear that, despite their minor disagreements, John and Michael were committed to work in partnership not only to get to their final destination, but also to enjoy the journey.

As we navigate life, we can find that it’s not always plain sailing. We may experience waves of grief, the highs and lows of relationships and the rough times of unemployment, depression or bereavement. But having someone alongside us can help.

Many people have invited God to join them on the journey of life. Though they are not necessarily shielded from the storms of life, many have experienced the benefit of his promise always to be with them.

If we put our trust in God, we may still face difficulties, but we can be assured that he will be with us whatever the weather. He will either calm our storm or he will remain alongside us as we go through it. He says: ‘When you face stormy seas I will be there with you with endurance and calm’ (Isaiah 43:2 The Voice).

Will we welcome him aboard?

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