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Around Australia: ten years on, sailors with disAblLITIES still hold the world record.

TEN years ago, on 25 May 2003, a crew of seven disabled sailors embarked on a journey, a World Record attempt to circumnavigate Australia, unassisted. They left the comforts of everything that was familiar, boarded their purpose-built 52 foot Lyons grand prix offshore racing yacht Kayle. The official time keeper of the World Record attempt, past CYCA Commodore John Brooks, started the timer from South Head and the crew commenced their journey.


Out of the Heads they turned left and sailed up the entire east coast of Australia, along the coast line of the Top End, down the coast of Western Australia, they turned left to sail along South Australia and around the bottom of Tasmania. They sailed back up the east coast and made their final left turn back into the heads of Sydney Harbour.

The elated crew was anxious to reunite with family and friends, hot showers and fresh food.

Not only did they complete the circumnavigation, they had also achieved their goal, wiping a substantial 6 days, 18 hours, 6 minutes and 48 seconds off the previous world record. The team from Sailors with disABILITIES (SWD) claimed a new world record 37 days, 1 hour, 23 minutes and 7 seconds unassisted circumnavigation of Australia.

On Saturday 22 June 2013 the crew, SWD Patron Ian Kiernan, members and guests of Sailors with disABILITIES reunited to celebrate. Ten years on they still hold the World Record, and as the celebratory drinks flowed at the CYCA, there was no doubt that if they lost that World Record tomorrow, they would do it all again.

Skipper David Pescud spoke highly of his crew Allan Grundy, Kim Jagger, Albert Lee, Harald Mirlieb, Brett Pearce and Phil Thompson, saying: "Without doubt, it was the best 37 days of my life sailing with this crew." An emotional David Pescud went on to highlight how willing his crew were to get things done in the dead of night and freezing cold, "Having a good time doing it ... it demonstrates the capacity for people to go places, I've never been before, I've never experienced that before, I've never shared that camaraderie, to them I say thank you."

SWD Patron Ian Kiernan commended the crew and SWD on their achievement: "You're real people, you're taking on real challenges, and doing well at it."

SWD Founder David Pescud presented CYCA Commodore Howard Piggott with the burgee that flew from the backstay of Kayle all the way around Australia. The SWD team said they were proud to sail under the CYCA burgee. Next year SWD will celebrate their 20th anniversary and they are as passionate and determined today as ever. SWD are committed to changing the perception of how people with a disability see themselves, of helping them to say "I can", and encouraging them to make a greater contribution to society.

RELATED ARTICLE: CYCA team named for New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup

The team that will represent the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia at the New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup in September (7-14), led by Bruce Foye includes Sean Langman, Andrew Copley, Mitchell Gordon, and Youth Sailing Academy member Alex Paton. The team has been preparing for the regatta, training on Foye's Sydney 38 The Goat throughout the CYCA Winter Series, in which they won the Sydney 38 Division. Langman will be calling tactics on the Swan 42s and is a vital inclusion on the team. Other team members include Wulfy Wilkens, Tony Clift, Richard Howard, Jamie Judd and Steve Leslie. Commodore Piggott and Flag Officers of the Club farewelled the team in early August and presented the crew with their official CYCA kit. "We wish you all the very best of luck in this Corinthian regatta and we will track your progress throughout the event," Commodore Piggott said.
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Publication:Offshore Yachting
Geographic Code:8AUST
Date:Aug 1, 2013
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