By Dorie Cox
Not much slows down Capt. Ben Craig-Cameron, 44, of M/Y Turquoise. He has run some of the larger sailing yachts including the 75m custom S/Y Mirabella V, the 54m Perini S/Y Jasali II, the 43m J-Class S/Y Ranger, the 43m Huismann S/Y Cyclos III, the 28m Swan S/Y Vesper, as well M/Y White Cloud, a 68m Feadship. Plus, he and his wife have three children under the age of seven.
But last year he had cancer, stage 3B malignant melanoma.
“It hit me like running into a brick wall,” Capt. Craig-Cameron said.
As part of his fight back, he will join 36 bicyclists in Cogs4Cancer, a 1500km ride from London to Antibes for 10 days in October.
“This ride is one of the good things that came out of it,” he said of his cancer scare. “I am a triathlete, and this pulled it together. It became more personal.”
This extreme ride is a challenge for most anyone, especially someone who has faced a recent illness.
“Now my health is good,” he said. “I got a clear PET scan in November and I did it through nutrition and exercise.”
Although the ride is a challenge, Capt. Craig-Cameron said finding time to train during yacht season is often more difficult.
“I manage to get off two hours a day to run or ride; I make it happen,” he said. “The owner’s supportive. He encourages me, and so do the crew. My first officer is great. I can leave him in charge and feel safe. That makes a massive difference.”
Capt. Craig-Cameron uses both the ride and his bout with cancer to educate others.
“With someone like me and my cancer, the first thing people say is, ‘Well, you work in the sun’,” he said. “It was not the sun; it was stress and food-related. And I’ll show people a picture of the scar on my back. This is real, not just another charity.
“Something that does surprise — and always will — is how difficult it is to get people to sponsor,” he said. “You would think it would be the easy part. If could go to Waxy’s [Irish Pub in Fort Lauderdale], put a bucket out and ask for every round to chuck in one [dollar], you would have a full bucket.”
Nick Farrell, chief engineer of MY Andiamo, will be on the ride also. He has biked the route twice before, but this is his first time for Cogs4Cancer. He sees the event as an opportunity to give back to those who need help.
“Our last two charities were Arthritis Research UK and Depression Alliance, so this is a new charity and a very worthy one,” he wrote in an email.
Farrell prefers to take time off from work to train.
“I have segregated them intentionally so I can concentrate on each,” he wrote.
He hopes the event inspires other yacht crew.
“To quote a current ‘BBC Sport’ tagline: Get inspired,” he wrote. “And give back to those less fortunate than you. A community that works for the better good is enriched by the experience and is the route to true contentment. So run, walk, ride or climb for a charity of your choice and in doing so, make everyone happier.”
For more details visit Cogs4Cancer at www.cogs4cancer.org or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dorie Cox is editor of The Triton. Comments on this story are welcome below.