Kay Cottee | Australia’s First Lady of the Sea

Kay Cottee became the first woman to sail solo, non-stop unassisted around the world. Kay was introduced to sailing as a baby, strapped in her crib to the mast of her fathers’ boat. She became a passionate sailor, and at age 33 made her dream come true.

Kay Cottee

Between November 29 1987 and June 5 1988, Kay sailed more than 22,000 nautical miles. She faced roaring winds, seas 100 feet high, ice bergs, broken gear, extreme exhaustion and sleep deprivation.

Kay was alone at sea for 189 days in her yacht Blackmores First Lady, a 37ft Cavalier designed by Laurie Davidson and built by Kay.

Can you image those last goodbyes, enduring the terror of fighting against being washed overboard or capsized by monstrous waves? Facing each new day by counting down the number of miles, hoping mother nature remained kind and praying for the continued protection of your guardian angel. Her prayers were answered and Kay made it home safely to a huge welcome.

Kays cleverness went well beyond her sailing, navigation and boat building skills. After returning home in 1988 and becoming Bicentennial Australian Of the Year, Kay’s achievements continued. She wrote a record-breaking bestselling book and 10 years later produced an international award-winning film of her voyage.  Kay is a mother, an accomplished artist, author and an internationally renowned motivational speaker.

Kay also served on the Board of the Australian Maritime Museum for 11 years, 6 of these as Chairwoman.

Kay has dedicated herself to raising money for the drug and alcohol prevention charity, Life Education. By the end of 1991 she had raised more than $1 million. Kay has taken her inspirational message to more than 40,000 school children and undoubtedly set young imaginations ablaze with unlimited possibilities.

Source reference http://www.kaycottee.com.au/Bio.html

Reference Australian Museum