PRIVATE PASSIONS

Published: 28/07/2005, Volume II5, No. 5966 Page 36

Sailing weekends allow Katherine Jones to take her mind off the stress of her job. 'My husband Steve and I started sailing three years ago and have since gained enough qualifications to charter a boat anywhere in the world, ' says the nutrition and dietetic services manager at Airedale trust in West Yorkshire. 'We go sailing almost every weekend, usually in the UK, although we have been on trips to Turkey, Greece and even Thailand and the Caribbean.

'It sounds luxurious but It is not at all - everything we have with us is basic. For example, when We are racing, like we did recently from Liverpool Yacht Club to the Isle of Wight, there were eight of us in a 36ft boat and we were not allowed to pack anything heavy - even extra drinking water and clothes - because it would weigh us down. But I would be lying if I said it wasn't exciting. We recently chartered a boat from Plymouth for two weeks across the Channel and around the Channel Islands. We had to take it in turns to stay awake at night because we had to dodge ships, but nothing melts your stresses away faster than being on the water.

'The grand plan is to retire in six years, when my husband turns 50. We'll sell our house, buy a boat and sail around the world. At the moment we can't justify the cost of buying a boat, but as we get older It is becoming a more realistic option.

'Our trip will be open-ended and we may never come back, but if we do I am sure I would love to work for the NHS again.'