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Sailors with disABILITIES participated and completed the 2015 LandRover Sydney to Gold Coast Yacht Race with a crew of fifteen on board Kayle, a 52ft Lyons grand prix offshore racing yacht purpose built for disabled people.
According to the CYCA, "the 384 nautical mile race has attracted fleets of between 70 and 80 yachts each year, with entries coming mainly from New South Wales and Queensland, but also from Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and New Zealand. In 1997, a record fleet of 86 boats took part."
This year, SWD finished 41st overall, out of a fleet of 62, and 12th on handicap in the PHS Division with a time of 03:01:05:38 on July 28th, at 02:05:38 AM, or 2.05 AM in layman's terms.
Mark Thomson doing final safety checks on the RFD/Crewsaver safety equipment on Kayle pre-race.
John Whitfeld, SWD's new ocean racing skipper, checking out the luff of the sails.
Kim Jaggar, Principal of Sydney Boy's High School and expert yachtie, front, and Greg Pugh, behind, saying G'day to Occasional Coarse Language in the race.
For many in the crew, this was their first ocean yacht race. After the race, Mark Ralph, a volunteer crew member who has sailed both Sydney to Hobart and Sydney to Gold Coast, sent us a text saying:
Mark Ralph in the bottom left-hand corner in yellow with fellow crew mates during the race.
The CYCA introduced the Land Rover Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race in 1986 as 'the great winter escape', taking advantage of the completion of the Gold Coast Seaway. The race has become a mainstay of the ocean yacht racing calendar in Australia and a litmus test for the Sydney to Hobart racing crews.
Kristi broke her back when she was twenty-one years old. Sixteen weeks after surgery to repair her spine she was in a car accident and broke her back again, and her neck. She's also been diagnosed with MS of the spine. To be a volunteer crew member with SWD, traveling 10 hours in each direction each weekend from Coffs Harbour to Sydney to train with the crew, and then to participate in this race is an awe-inspiring achievement.
Saturday morning, a few hours before the 1 pm start, the full crew gather on Kayle. Kristi is bottom-right, at the front, with a cap and a big grin.
Paul Palmer, who has Friedreich's Ataxia, hanging over the stern and being a complete inspiration to the crew in his first ocean yacht race.
SWD thanks the SWD on-board crew and photographers, Harry and Kristi, who took the images which helped SWD win Day 1 of the Landrover Sydney to Gold Coast Yacht Race photography competition and show our community around the world what it's like to be on board during an ocean yacht race. The crew did a great job working together not only to sail a 384 nautical mile race, but to raise the profile of SWD's work and programs and inspire others to give it a go. A selection of images from the race follows below.
Preparations on the morning of the start of the race.
Julia, the school Administration Manager at Cambewarra Public School, shows off the school hat. "Hi kids!"
Jim Igoe steering, Mark Thomson watching on while young Harry does his thing.
And sometimes we're blessed with these scenes, reminding us of the bigger picture!
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