The Australian National Maritime Museum is excited to present a virtual webinar discussion with three of Australia’s sailing world sailing superstars – Kay Cottee AO, Wendy Tuck & Adrienne Cahalan AOM: Seclusion At Sea.

The museum was disappointed this year’s Classic and Wooden Boat Festival couldn’t go ahead at the museum, but didn’t want you to miss out completely, so they’re bringing part of the festival to you! The CWBF talk series originally planned has been turned into ‘Virtual Ocean Talks’! You’ll be able to enjoy these from home every Thursday night from 14-28 May 2020.


– Simply register online by heading to the museum’s page HERE.
– You’ll be sent a reminder to tune in the day before, and also one hour before the event.
– Login to the event at start time (7.30pm (AEST), Thursday 21 May 2020)

Best of all – it’s FREE and anyone can register!

Virtual Ocean Talk: Seclusion at Sea
Date: Thursday 21 May 2020
Time: 7.30pm – 8.30pm
We think physical distancing and quarantine measures today are challenging. Imagine being at sea for months on end, alone or with the same group of people sailing in some of the world’s most dangerous oceans – how would you manage?

Join three of Australia’s world sailing stars and hear how they coped. Explore the inner and outer worlds of sailors such as Kay Cottee AO who sailed the world alone in 1987/88 to become the first woman to sail the globe solo, unassisted and non-stop via both hemispheres. Hear also from competition sailors, sequestered at sea, leading or as part of a crew: Wendy Tuck who led her crew to victory in the 2017-18 Clipper round the world race, becoming the first woman to do so; and Adrienne Cahalan OAM navigator on a cavalcade of bluewater events including the world speed sailing circumnavigation record in 2004 and the iconic Sydney to Hobart yacht race. What can the experiences of these three women offer us to reflect on our COVID-19 lives?

Main image: Kay Cottee steering Blackmores First Lady across the Pacific Ocean. Reproduced courtesy Kay Cottee.


Kay Cottee
Kay Cottee AO

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
Wendy Tuck

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
Adrienne Cahalan AOM

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
Daina Fletcher

Daina Fletcher is a Senior Curator at the Australian National Maritime Museum.

For information on all three Classic and Wooden Boat Festival Virtual Talks, CLICK HERE


Australian Sailing in partnership with the Australian National Maritime Museum