Thank you to everyone who took part in our recent Virtual Ocean Talk. If you'd like to rewatch the talk, or if you were unable to make it on the night, here's a recorded version for you to enjoy.
Kay Cottee AO is the first woman to sail the globe solo, unassisted and via both hemispheres. Born into a yachting family, Kay grew up the Sydney suburb of Sans Souci. In 1986 Kay raced in the Two Handed Trans-Tasman to New Zealand with her friend Linda Wayman and she returned alone in the Solo Trans-Tasman.
On 29 November 1987, Cottee set off from Sydney Harbour on her biggest challenge yet, her attempt to sail solo around the world on her yacht Blackmore’s First Lady in the process hoping to raise money for Ted Noff’s Life Education Program.
Over the next 189 days Kay experienced the incredible beauty, discomfort and terror of solo sailing in the Southern Ocean. Her yacht was knocked down several times, including once off the southern coast of Africa in 100-knot winds and 20-metre seas. On 5 June 1988, she sailed into Sydney Harbour, greeted by more than 100,000 well-wishers. She had sailed 22,100 nautical miles at an average speed of 117 nautical miles per day (the fastest by a woman) and set seven world records. Kay was named the 1988 Australian of the Year and made an Officer of the Order of Australia. In 2017 Kay Cottee was an inaugural honouree in the Australian Sailing Hall of Fame.
Wendy Tuck is the first woman to skipper a crew in a round-the-world yacht race and the first to win one. Wendy grew up in Sydney’s western suburbs and only took up sailing in her mid-20s, from 2002. Working as a sailing instructor and charter boat skipper. In the 2015-16 she became the first Australian female skipper of the Clipper Round the World race.
Two years later, in the 2017-18 Clipper Round the World race, Wendy took the helm of Sanya Serenity Coast. Tuck and her crew won this race and Wendy became the first female skipper to win the clipper race, breaking ground for women in this adrenalin-charged sport.
Adrienne Cahalan OAM has inspired a generation of sailors, as sailor and navigator during a decades-long career in a wide range of craft - skiffs, super-maxis and multihulls - and in an awe-inspiring range of events - from bluewater classics to round the world speed record attempts. She holds a string of overall, handicap and race records and remains a force in the sport of sailing, on and off the water. Adrienne has been nominated for Female World Sailor of the Year four times, in 1998, 2002- 2004. She is a qualified lawyer who in 2003 completed post-graduate studies in Applied Meteorology.
Adrienne began sailing as a teenager racing lasers and moved to twelve-foot skiffs and then 18-footers. One of her greatest achievements came in 2004 as navigator on adventurer Steve Fossett’s Cheyenne which broke the non-stop Round the World Speed Record. Her accolades include this world record in a time of under 64 days, and as navigator on four line honours winners in the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, Australia’s bluewater classic including on Wild Oats XI. In 2019 Adrienne was inducted into the Australian Sailing Hall of Fame.
Presenter and host:
Daina Fletcher is a Senior Curator at the Australian National Maritime Museum.