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Oceans crew
8 December 2017

Brighton based skipper Robert Munns will travel to New Zealand in November 2018 to take 35 adults with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) on his award-winning sailing challenge.

Robert, who lives with Multiple Sclerosis himself, created the Oceans of Hope Challenge to give people the same life affirming experience he gained when sailing with the organisation Sailing Sclerosis, onboard the yacht appropriately named ‘Oceans of Hope’, across the Pacific Ocean and English Channel.  

In the ambitious challenge, Robert will be hosting the participants on board the Tall Ship, Spirit of New Zealand, sailing around New Zealand’s North Island with the aim of bringing people together from New Zealand and Australia whose lives are touched by MS. The five-day adventure (8th-13th November) will give participants the opportunity to challenge themselves and make the impossible possible, as they work together for a common goal.

Every crew member will have a valuable part to play. As well as contributing to an enjoyable life at sea onboard the ‘Spirit of New Zealand’, each person will have the chance to take command of the ship, and their lives!

Robert created the Oceans of Hope Challenge in 2015 and since then has shared the experience with over 100 adults affected by Multiple Sclerosis in 6 different challenges.

Founder of Sailing Sclerosis and Oceans of Hope, the Danish doctor and skipper, Mikkel Anthonisen, says about the new adventure down under: “It´s fantastic that we are now coming back to New Zealand where we made so many friends during our visit on the circumnavigation – this time with the Oceans of Hope Challenge concept that has already proved an immense success in Europe. Continuing to create life changing possibilities for people living with MS to get out into the world and into life.”

In September 2017 the challenge was acknowledged by The Sailing Today Awards, winning ‘Best Cruise’ and even beating Dame Ellen McArthur’s Round Britain to the title. In May, Robert will also be taking the challenge to Croatia, with a flotilla of 10 boats and then onto an Oceans of Hope Challenge for Scotland in June.  

On the success of the Oceans of Hope Challenge, Robert Munns said: “I am amazed how the Oceans of Hope Challenge is developing, along with it’s potential to bring an element of hope to so many lives. It is my honour and privilege to be responsible for making sure that it is supported, and it continues in the spirit it was conceived”.

Ingrid Robertson, a former challenge participant who is assisting in running the New Zealand challenge, said “I am delighted to be part of bringing the Oceans of Hope Challenge to Auckland, New Zealand. As someone who has taken part in the challenge myself, I know first-hand how life changing it can be and what a difference it makes to people affected by MS.”

Training courses will also be available in May and September 2018 for those wishing to prepare and gain sailing experience.

If you would like to apply to take part or know someone who would benefit from the Oceans of Hope Challenge, then please get in touch at

For more information read the Oceans of Hope New Zealand 20018 Info Sheet and visit

Watch the video here:

Follow on Twitter:  @OOHChallenge #weareoceansofhope

All images and video in the Dropbox link here -

For more information call SEA PR on 01273 608455 or Robert Munns on 07958 490018


Testimonials from OOH Participants

1.     "After Oceans of Hope, I started walking again! "

2.     " I felt connected again, knowing that I could achieve my goals; I took a grip of my life"

3.     "I crawled on board and walked off"

4.     " it was a hugely positive experience and bit by bit I am feeling more accepting of my condition"

5.     "My inspiration in the sailing world, Robert, this is one dedicated man, a man that gave me an opportunity to change my life for the better, a man who inspired me to do something challenging and different and a man who has made me a stronger more proactive person."

About Robert Munns.

Between 2004 and 2010 Robert was a Motor Yacht skipper extensively cruising the Mediterranean Sea. During this time, he was diagnosed with MS but continued to sail and latterly worked in Brighton Marina where he still works part-time.

The sail boat Oceans of Hope (OoH) skippered by Mikkel Anthonisen, (founder of the Sailing Sclerosis Foundation) and his team turned up at Brighton Marina on a fact finding visit whilst Robert was on duty as Marina Manager in 2014.

The timing was perfect because OOH belonged to Denmark registered charity Sailing Sclerosis and Robert was immediately inspired. OOH coming into his life was perfect.

Sailing Sclerosis re-ignited a passion for adventure and new experiences that had been quashed since Robert’s first MS episode and subsequent diagnosis. He realised that life is too short to be paralysed by the uncertainty that comes with MS. Oceans of Hope has given him the inspiration and belief that anything is possible again, and so created the Oceans of Hope Challenge in 2015.

About Sailing Sclerosis Foundation

Sailing Sclerosis Foundation is a Danish organization founded by Dr. Mikkel Anthonisen. The organization undertook the first circumnavigation with a crew of people living with the disease multiple sclerosis (MS) from June 2014 to November 2015 to change the perceptions of MS and to show what is possible even when living with a chronic and disabling disease." For more information go to

About The Spirit of Adventure Trust

The Spirit of Adventure Trust was established in 1973 with the generous support of Lou Fisher, to provide the youth of New Zealand with access to a character youth development programme conducted in a maritime environment.

The 1960s saw a revival of interest in square-rigged sailing ship but not in their traditional role as cargo ships, or for professional maritime training.  They were seen as a unique environment for youth development, where the focus of learning for students is on team-work and developing skills of communication, self-reliance, self-discipline, self-esteem, resilience, confidence and leadership. Learning to sail a tall ship is a means to an end, rather than an end in itself.

Their mission is ‘To empower young New Zealanders to reach their full potential through the challenge of the sea’.

Since the Trust’s inception, more than 75,000 young people from throughout New Zealand have benefited from participating in one or other of our youth development voyages.