By Louise Brown, Maiden team member
We had very British weather on the morning of Maiden‘s departure in Dubai. It was blowy and threatening to rain…. but she absolutely loved it. The moment the girls got her sails up, off she went. She literally flew away from the flotilla of boats that had come to see her off on her new world tour.
Luckily, the shore team were in a powerful boat, kindly lent to us by the wonderful staff at DOSC, so we could keep up. Watching her glide so gracefully through the water was a sight to behold. I felt so privileged to be out there, playing my small part in this wonderful mission for equality.
I continued being inspired in the days that followed Maiden’s departure. I travelled to see family during my time off, and ended up spending hours walking through some of Australia’s greatest women with them. It was an exhibition at The National Portrait Gallery of Australia, focused on ‘Women Making History’. What good timing! And really fascinating.
I was most inspired when I read about Kay Cottee – her mission at the time aligns with Maiden’s today.
Kay Cottee AO (b. 1954) became the first woman in history to complete a solo, non-stop and unassisted voyage around the world. On 29 November 1987, Cottee set off from Sydney Harbour in her boat Blackmores First Lady. During the 189 days of the 23,000 nautical mile voyage, she faced icebergs, gale force winds and whales as well as homesickness and loneliness. Washed overboard off the southern coast of Africa, she was saved by two safety lines. Her only contact with the outside world was by radio, and while the demands of the journey often left her with little time to sleep, she staved off boredom by knitting and writing poetry. In the course of the voyage she broke seven records including the longest time spent alone by a woman at sea, the greatest non-stop distance travelled at sea by a lone woman, and the fastest time and speed for a solo circumnavigation by a woman. Sailing back into Sydney on 5 June 1988, she was greeted by a crowd of 100,000 people. The voyage raised more than $1 million for Reverend Ted Noffs’ Life Education Centres.
What a phenomenal achievement and an inspirational lady, we really can do anything once we believe it is possible. This is what I adore about Maiden’s mission: helping girls to see that ordinary people can do extraordinary things.