Global ocean racing duo encourage more Australians to ‘achieve something remarkable’

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Sailing enthusiasts Lisa Blair 28, and Wayne Reed 57, decided to swap their day jobs for the adrenaline fuelled adventure of ocean racing and ended up helming Gold Coast Australia to win the world’s longest yacht race over 40,000 miles.

Wayne, who has worked for the Australian Defence Force for over 30 years, felt the time was finally right to turn his dream into reality, “I first heard about the Clipper Race ten years ago when reading a sailing magazine. I followed it for several years until I decided to do the race myself,” explained Wayne.

“The most exhilarating part of the race was certainly when we were caught in a fairly significant storm in the Southern Ocean where we had 50-60 knots of breeze, fairly huge swells and a big spinnaker up and we left it too late to pull the spinnaker down, so we had to keep it up and hope it would hold.”

Wayne actually signed up for the Clipper Race with his wife, Heather, but with one condition - they wanted to be on separate yachts.

“The main advantage of having your wife on the race, but on a separate boat, was that you had that period of separation during the race and we had each other in every port. A girl in every port for me and a sailor in every port for her,” added Wayne who now hopes to buy a cruising boat to continue their waterborne adventures together.

Crew can take on the full 40,000-mile circumnavigation, or one or more of eight legs. The race fleet takes almost a year to visit 15 ports of call on six continents. Conditions are variable, from the frustrations of the Doldrums with little or no wind to challenging everything Mother Nature has in her armoury.

Since winning the race aboard Gold Coast Australia, former shop assistant Lisa Blair has gone onto sail with one of the most accomplished sailors in the industry, Alex Thomson, who at 25 became the youngest skipper to win the Clipper Race back in 1999.

“One of the highlights for me was sailing in the Southern Ocean. It was such an incredible experience and seeing that landscape in person was just fantastic. The proudest moment had to be finishing the race in first place. Having completed the full circumnavigation and seeing so many boats come out to meet us and the thousands of people on the quayside cheering us on was just astounding,” said Lisa.

Both Wayne and Lisa have been selected by Clipper Race officials to star in one of a series of short online videos, which feature former crew because of the impact the race has had on their lives.  Their stories are also currently being showcased in 210 rail stations across Australia.

The ‘watch my story’ films can be watched here.

Skipper of the victorious Australian team, Richard Hewson, will be holding a presentation at the Southport Yacht Club on Sunday 28 October. The afternoon event offers attendees the opportunity to hear Richard reminisce about the challenge of guiding Gold Coast Australia around the world.

For more information contact Southport Yacht Club: [email protected]

Richard will also be presenting at the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia on Tuesday 30 October in Sydney.